A (continuing) Tale of Two Brains

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So, I'm posting this in the Garden because I want you to know that I don't expect a response, nor do I NEED one. But I want to give one, because I have one, because I'm not ready to stop responding, and because I want to put it where it can sit if you want to see it, but not so as to compel you to write.

I worked late and then did school. I was lucky to walk in the door and have a letter in my fingers.

My sad and disoriented part is getting her feet back under her again. She's not quite so in shock anymore, and getting past thinking that she's just facing one more round of the same-ole, same-ole. Well, at least she's not feeling fo sorry for herself about it tonight...

> > Dear Cynthia: >
> For 30 years I lived in a world of non-linear, intuitive, artistic, poetic,
> inspirational energy and perspectives on life.

And I've been so far away from that world for so long that I feel mad without it. I'm an artist who got oxbowed into an industrial urban backwater slough, complete with cement channels and rusty leaking pipes. I made the best of it for as long as I could, and now my soul's catching up with me and making sure I, too, go explore the "other side". Maybe you'll help me out with an itinerary here, also?

> This is a very "left-brained" letter.
> Strictly no nosense, I hope.
> I realized that my linear, rational side was atrophying.
> This is perhaps the opposite process from that of the stock-broker who
> discovers "Zen" in the midst of a mid-life crisis, but it is akin to it.
> Part of this impetus of self-discovery of my own neglected side
> and all those DEFICIENCIES
> was a discovery that I had nothing:
> no home, no love, no family, no children, no money, no partner, no sense of
> acheivement, and no possibilty.
> None of the things normal people have.
> And that I wanted all those things too.
> All I had was poverty, isolation, alienation, an abundance of suffering, all
> the starch I could eat, the scorn of my social inferiors, and the ability to
> enter a deep self-induced hypnotic trace at will.
> I began to take college courses in symbolic logic and mathematics to build
> up my left brain.
> I cut my hair and became sober: I became tediously though not proselytically
> sober.
> I was light years away from ecstacy.
> I didn't even know how to have "fun".
> Besides, that's for CHILDREN anyway, isn't it?
> I abandoned any thought of mystical or spiritual things because I knew it
> would take me the rest of my life living in my left-brain to balance out the
> first half in the right-brain.
> All that was great, but I was doing something else now.
> I was on a mission: I had to stay "focused".
> So, here we are today.
> I've got a pretty well-developed right-brain and a pretty well-developed
> left-brain.
> Now, perhaps you can see the problem.

No, not really. I mean, sort of.

But not any more than the problem you'd be facing if I'd just happened to be in Texas and you'd met me somewhere in a context more conducive to something "normal" like, say, school or in one of your hang outs.

I mean, take this fantasy, for instance:

Say there WAS a chemistry between us - for the sake of this postulation, let there be a very GOOD chemistry between us - and right away our eyes would connect and you'd smile at me in that way that I bet you have that looks a little skeptical, a bit sardonic, but VERY ready to play IF you think I'd be up to it.

So you'd probably measure me for awhile, and read a lot between the lines, and you'd let me talk and you'd enjoy it, and you'd notice that I paid attention to what you said, and that I followed the subtle things and slipped a few in of my own. We'd watch, and notice each other watching, and you'd take my number and tell me you'd call. A few days would go by, and then you would.

We'd visit. We'd discover we had a LOT in common (a startling amount, actually, that would smell of fate or kismet, but maybe we wouldn't say anything - or maybe we would). There would be a flurry of doing things - maybe a couple of dates - maybe even every other night, and soon an all-day drive somewhere - down into the Christmas Mountains, or up Emory Peak. Perhaps - after a couple of weeks had gone by (or even sooner, for we've been around the block, you know) - you might even venture to give me a kiss, and tell me that you really liked me, and that you enjoyed my company.

Perhaps you'd even tell me that since you'd met me and shared ideas with me, that you'd started to discover places in yourself that had grown a bit dusty recently. Perhaps you'd mention that there were things you liked about me, and that you found yourself just a bit happier since we'd been hanging out. Maybe you'd even sing a verse about the Sweet Omega - "..she's changing me..."

Perhaps I'd tell you that I *really* loved the fact that you were in school, and that you were working toward a wonderful career and that you were building from scratch the life you've always wanted for yourself. I'd let you know how bright I thought you were, and how I loved how capable you were, and how secure and respected I felt around you. I'd read your thesis (and fix spelling errors, but gently) and even help you type it if you got into a bind. I'd do my barbeque sauce from scratch (but I would NOT skin the boar).

You'd help me plot out my itinerary for Chasing Spring, and we'd settle down to some serious mapping and you'd show me how the forests could actually move. I'd take notes (and you'd REALLY like that) and work on my story and everything would be surprisingly fun and easy and good humored - for we're both great jokesters and laugh all the time - and we'd be resonantly intense.

Certainly all of this could easily happen in a month, and with hours and hours and hours spent together - time we'd manage to find between work and thesis and figuring out all the spaces we could fit in as together times.

Certainly much less than we've spent here as light beings, going much further than we've gone as light beings - heck, as light beings we can't even hold hands!

But your left brain would have let you do this one, wouldn't it? If I were THERE in person, we would have stayed playing, right? All of these questions that show up in these words here, in this letter, would have slid out over time and when you got to this part:

> My right brain is screaming at me
> in nets of absurd synchronicity
> that I LOVE YOU >

...it wouldn't have been nearly so hard to say, or seemed too quick. Maybe a little fast, but then some connections are like that - instant. As if they were meant to be.

> because my right-brain loves your right-brain
> because of all these THINGS
> that are just SCREAMING all these THINGS.
> Like psychic PENETRATION and cyclical rhythmic harmonization
> and God knows whatever other
> intuitive wholistic mystical nebulous THINGS
> that entice like sirens
> and draw onto rocks that smash and crash and grind and destroy
> and divert.

If we'd been able to be together in person, the equation would never have gone so linear, nor so ballistic, and I could never have come to represent a being that smashes and grinds and destroys. Look at me - (and I wish you'd check out my picture again, because I'm NOT a harpy, and I'm NOT a siren - I'm a very nice, very good woman - one of the best you'd ever meet, just a little hard to match up is all) maybe a look and a few words shared between us, and all that stuff would have gone back down into the cauldron from whence it came.

> But I can't.
> I have to stay focused.
> I'm on a left-brained mission
> so I will never ever "end up" so poor
> as I was when my right-brain ruled my life.
> Or die trying.

And if we were side by side somewhere you'd know that I would NEVER want to move you off your track, and that I would do everything I could to help you. I REALLY admire what you've done, and how you've taken your life in your hands and are making something of yourself. I don't think poorly of you in the least. I don't think you've sold out. I think you're very honorable.

> "With no lovin' in our souls and no money in our coats,
> you can't say we're satisfied...." (RS)
> I'm sick of it.
> But my left-brain is saying,
> "hey".
> It's saying I MUST BE INSANE and that I NEED TO GET A GRIP.
> And this isn't for MY sake even,
> but for YOURS
> because I have never done anything I didn't WANT to do IN MY LIFE.
> And I never will.
> Somebody could get hurt.

Well, yes...but I don't think this is the way to prevent THAT.

> I am "weird" in the ANGLO-SAXON sense, not the vernacular sense:
> a walking black hole that people cross the street to avoid.

And I would be fascinated by this. Not side-show curious, but excited to discover someone else who had a similar experience with the world. I'd tell you about how it is for me, and maybe you wouldn't feel quite so alone. Actually, I think we've already done this - and I think we had some moments when we didn't fee quite so alone. I know I have, and I thank you for them. (I just want more...)

> Now,
> we've taken this pen pal thing much farther than we should have
> and have fed all these fantasies and needs in each other
> that seem to need feeding.

I really don't see it this way. My bad, perhaps. But I just can't do either one of us the diservice of calling what we've shared "fantasies". I've revealed cherished personal images to you - metaphors that I live my soul's life by. I'm proud of what I've accomplished as a woman alone, against pretty big odds, my friend. I'm proud that I've managed to keep as much of my heart intact as I have.

I could have ended up a bitter, cynical person - my face could have been etched in a horrible frown by now, but it's not. I'm the most stubbornly joyful person I know. Everything I've said to YOU I've meant, deeply.

When I was a 16 year old out on my own, I discovered this place in me that felt like a queen. Maybe that's the sort of thing YOU'D call a fantasy, but I felt I could feel this deep presence in my blood (and I don't mean it literally, but I definitely could feel a LINEAGE with my family that made me proud to be who I was, the daughter of my parents, and a FULL and COMPLETE PERSON) and I wrote in my journal (and I still have this)

"I am a queen in my own country. Just because I am not seen does not make me any less a queen."

I always felt an obligation and a duty to conduct myself well, and to be as fair and honest as I could be.

I did not - and refuse to believe - that I have "taken this pen pal thing much farther" than I should have. I cherish every bit that we've shared, and I won't discount it with mis-rememberance.

> Pehaps that is good
> but it could get bad REALLY FAST
> and then any of the rest could just be wasted energy
> if we keep feeding this hungry beast that has grown up between us before we
> meet face-to-face.

I will say this. Maybe I DID err in letting my energy reach out toward you. Did you feel me? Was I difficult? I'm not very good at psychic containment. I'm sorry. And really, I wish you could dig back into that musty bag of right-brained tricks you have and pull out some confidence in the ability of love and respect to manage the "beast", and maybe even teach me a thing or two.

But you asked me to meet you in the dream time, and so I did.

> And I want very much to meet you face-to-face.
> What we have in common is so astounding as to be absolutely terrifying.
> There is a song by Fleetwood Mac called "The Sweet Omega".
> There is also a saying,
> "Ripe fruit will fall at a touch."

Yes, it does. It has. I love what I've been sharing with you. I get a tremendous lift from it. Contact with you has been making my days bearable. I've enjoyed every letter. I love getting my e-mails from you, and I'm looking forward to the time when I'll know what you're doing, and when I'll know your friends by name, and the places you go and the things you do, just the way real pen pals do.

I very much want to meet you face-to-face, too. I don't care about building myself up and then not having the chemistry/peptide thing be real. I can handle that. Lordy, after all I've been through, what's one more disappointment? And I really mean that, Daniel. How many chances DO WE REALLY GET? How many MORE chances do we get?

I'm 44 years old. I've loved all sorts of odd characters, so there's no picking the perfect guy out of a line-up for me. I'm a brain girl. I do the Vulcan Mind Meld. I'm just about as odd as they come. (Now, maybe that's what you're really on about, and maybe all the rest of this is just to make me feel better?)

You know, I didn't ask for you to turn out to be as interesting as you are. I didn't ask for all this commonality and synchronicity. Hell, I was just going to Burning Man...ahem.

> It was in a poem I wrote that is now lost.
> I don't think I can write it again.
> But if ripe fruit will fall at a touch,
> Over-ripe fruit turns into a mushy mess that stinks, is difficult to clean
> up, gets all over everything, and makes you sick.

Over ripe fruit has already fallen. I do think some metaphors only go so far, and then more apt others must be found. Unless you're also suggesting that I'm over-ripe fruit. But I still think I said it the best, earlier.

Over ripe fruit is a seed.

> Because of the ways our correspondences twisted and turned and rolled and
> ended up,
> perhaps I should surrender to blind faith.

That could be cool

> My right-brain certainly wants to do that.
> My right brain wants to marry you
> by proxy NOW,
> and the consequences be damned.

Like I said, I'd like to hear more from your right brain. I like that guy.

> But my left-brain would NEVER consent to such a thing.
> In fact,
> my left-brain would probably conspire against my right brain
> to sabotage the whole thing.
> And in any event,
> if my right brain was somehow able to get its way
> you would only be getting HALF OF ME.
> You wouldn't be getting a whole person.
> This is the corpus callosum talking.

Well, I'm not sure about that, yet. I think I know a corpus callosum when I hear one. I think this is your left brain telling both of us it's the old CC, and I think your right brain is just going along with this a little while, because I think you're right brain trusts me, and trusts us, and I really think your left brain will do a lot better when we get a few more of these things on the table.

I think you said the most important ones:

1. That you feel that you love me, even though it seems crazy (but that's ok, because we're light beings here, and you've already said that you LOVE MY MIND, and I've already said that I LOVE YOUR MIND - or, at least, I'm saying it now...

2. That a part of you wants to marry me, because you still believe in love at first sight. And that's ok, too.

> Because of how fast we accelerated
> up to a point
> that is so personal as to be inviolate and sacrosanct to me,
> we really can't go any further now through letters
> unless we back track.

You know, I'm sorry to be so opinionated here - really, I am. But dang it, I just don't agree with this assessment. Maybe you wrote that in a fit of passionate withdrawal, or maybe this is the Scorpion sting.

I'm aware that we share something so special that never in a million years would we dare to EXPECT to run across someone else who might have a thread of it similar to ours; I'm aware that people like us barely even HOPE to meet.

I'm aware that you and I are bright/wise enough not to assume that even though we have all these synchronicities in place that WE are those people that we've dreamed of. I know we're careful enough to keep this stuff in the anomaly files, at least for awhile.

But I don't for a minute think that we can't go further in letters. I think we're standing on the brink of a very good thing, and the road's just waiting for US to continue to take the next steps.

> Let's go back to more mundane things
> like helping you and yours get ready for Burning Man and tipi life.

Hey, let's go ON to wonderful things, like us helping each other to get ready for Burning Man and tipi life.

> We may indeed be perfect mates
> and extremely fortunate to have discovered one another.
> That is what my right-brain wants to believe.

Good for your right-brain. Good Brain.

> On the other hand we may be indulging in wishful thinking.
> My left-brain is standing watch.

Well, of course. Mine, too. But let's not let them end the game, ok?

> We can't go any deeper without meeting.

Dang it, AGAIN I can't go along with this. It's a blanket generalization that's just not borne out by the facts. It's clearly an emotion-based assumption unsupported by evidence that is neither NECESSARY nor SUFFICIENT. Do you really want your finely honed left-brain dominated world to be clouded by such fuzzy thinking? As your new friend, I don't think I can stand by and allow this to happen. It would be irresponsible of me.

I think the best way to deal with this is an empirical study. Let's say that we spend the next two weeks in extremely deep conversation, through e-mail, during breaks when you're dodging your thesis and I'm dodging my bookkeeping.

I'm open to input on how to make the experiment more likely to yield useful data - I'm torn between suggesting that we take the second two week segment and try to make it even deeper than the first (thus testing our first assumptions about what is depth, and whether we've even begun to plumb it...) or ?

We could then rate the "depth" of the conversation, accepting temporarily an arbitrary scale that we could fudge up a bit - maybe I could find a useful template in one of those Cosmopolitan magazines in the laundromat.

> I have this THING about HURTING women, you see.

Well, good. So don't.

> All we can do is wait,
> and too much depth in the correspondences will not help.

Ah, another assumption we should put in the Study.

> I suggest we stay mundane in E-mails.
> The only way I can keep my cicuits from burning out
> is to dampen them a bit.

I thought water shorted them out.

> I'm doing it because I think
> there may very well be something special between us,
> and I want to keep it SAFE.
> And because if it's all just an out-of-control fantasy
> I want to keep YOU (me) safe.

Well, it's not just an out of control fantasy. You know, if we stay in contact, there are going to be PLENTY of times where you're right about something and I'm wrong; where you get to be an anchor and help me see the light, or steer me off the rocks or somesuch help for my own nonsense or dark nights of the soul.

But I don't think this is one of those times. I think we're just fine. I think you're a little overwhelmed, and maybe not used to my kind of friendship. I know I'm a little overwhelmed, but it's because I feel like I've done something wrong even though I KNOW I haven't - and it's my reasoning mind that knows this, and is figuring it out, but it's my heart and my self-respect and my respect for you that's keeping me writing, even when you suggest we cool it down.

I've re-read what we've shared and I still don't think we've been over the top. What do I know? Maybe you've been through this e-mail stuff a hundred times before. Me? I just want to keep my new pen-pal. I like looking at his photographs. I like his jokes. I like how he thinks. I like what he writes. I respect his direction in life. I hope I know him for a very long time...

> I will open some new threads in the garden to say it differently.
> We could reach out more there perhaps.

OK. I'm game.

> There are some OLD poems you should read perhaps.
> I hope you like them.
> I don't have any new ones.
> MAYBE I will after we meet.
> I am going to try very hard to make Burning Man this year.

Well, if you don't then I'm coming to Texas. (And maybe even if you do. My cousin lives there and she wants me to come visit this winter, and I have to spend time with my Mom and my Dad - Arizona and Palm Desert - so I plan on being all over the southwest when it gets cold. Feel like a drive to the Christmas Mountains?)

> love (right-brain)
> disbelief (left-brain)

Well, it's almost 2 am. I think that I can pretty much say:

something-but-I-never-could-say-love-very-well-anyway ("left"/reptile brain) hooray! (corpus collosum) love as a light being only, ("right"-frontal brain)


"Stop searching forever. Happiness is just next to you." ---Chinese fortune cookie... 05/25/2002

-- Anonymous, June 18, 2002


Wild thing?

I think I LOVE YOU!

But I wanna know for shu-ah...........................................

-- Anonymous, June 22, 2002

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