Thinking In Pictures

I’ve always been a dreamer. Even now, I’ll catch myself occasionally losing track of time whilst sitting on a bus or train. One minute I’m looking out the window, the next it’s ten minutes later. It’s could be something more serious, but I’m sticking with dreaming. I’ve always thought that we are only limited by our imagination. My imagination is limited though because I’ve never been able to think in pictures. 

I do dream and, like most people, I only remember the rare ones. So, I must have the capacity to have pictures in my brain. I’m just not able to do it when I am awake. On the other hand, I’m really good at diagramming concepts at work. I’ve been referred to as an artist when I’m at a whiteboard with a pen in my hand on how I can make the complicated look so simple. Just don’t ask me how I do it. 

It also means that if you are ever playing something like Pictionary, be on another team. I’m really bad at it. Not because I can’t draw, but I’m never too sure what to draw. 

I’ve tried meditation, but I can’t get past the beginning where you have to picture a candle in your mind, or things like that. I end up either picturing a really bad snow storm, or a dark place at night during a power cut. This depends on the time of day. I can’t fake meditation, because I snore. 

This can be a bit of a problem when I’m reading as I can’t picture scenes in my mind. Those little details which adds to the richness of a scene mean nothing to me, as I end up concentrating on the plot. Can I make a confession? When I read A Game of Thrones I wasn’t that impressed, mainly as I thought that it was too picturesque. The style of writing was too visual for my taste. 

I was having a conversation about The Expanse a little while back and a friend mentioned in passing that they thought that Holden seemed different in their mind’s eye to how they perceived them from the books. I couldn’t really comment one way or another, as I don’t have the book version of the character in my mind. 

I love to look at fan made art, especially of book characters. It surprises me how varied the interpretation people come up with. It is a great example of how everyone’s mind works in a slightly different way. I know that I couldn’t do something like that myself, and I am amazed by how good they are. 

So, if I don’t think in pictures how do I process things. If you were to ask me to describe someone, it would be putting a puzzle together. I can’t picture that person in my mind and use that as a template. Instead, I would go from detail to detail, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the reference picture. 

It doesn’t make me non-creative though. I like to write, but I don’t tend to be that descriptive. I believe in putting together a framework and then letting the reader put together the small details. I’m never going to spend two pages on describing the clothing of everyone in a room. 

Unless it is important to the story. 

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