There’s a band called VAST (actually, it’s just one guy, Jon Crosby) that’s magic for my writing. I don’t know what it is, but whenever I play his songs, ideas flood my brain. My iTunes has the complete collection of forty-six tracks on four albums spanning from 1998 to 2004. I switch it on, and some undisclosed well of ideas rise up in me and I’m flooded with a rush of mental stamina. And the results are pretty much consistent; I turn on VAST, I get ideas. In celebration of the upcoming album release, I decided to turn on the album Crimson this morning. True to history, I experienced idea overload. Unfortunately, I was in the shower and my computer was too far away to be of any help. That’s when I decided I needed a brain recorder.
I don’t know about other writers, but when I get ideas, they come in a torrent of broken bits and pieces–a flutter of imagery, a snatch of dialogue, a whisper of setting. Hardly ever do thoughts come complete and whole, and never do I remember them all. Most of the time, they’re not even fully actualized thoughts, but scraps of visualizations. No matter how fast I run to the computer or my index cards, no matter how much I struggle to retain all of those bits of inspirational flotsam, the majority slips away, never to be heard from again. That’s where the brain recorder comes in.
Imagine an implanted device that could not only record your every thought, but could translate those amorphous images into words. Instead of running to the keyboard, we could mentally switch on the recorder and catch all of those baby concepts at their fruition. Once we’d captured the entirety, we could remotely download the files to Word and never again lose that perfect idea.
Of course, the military would seize control of my brain recorder and use it for Bad Things. They’d make it classified, locking it away for only the most devious of uses. And those of us that desired it for truly pure reasons would still be bolting from our showers, dripping wet, scattering droplets of water and inspiration as we went. Or, even worse, we’d all have brain recorders and they’d be on all the time, archiving our every thought in case we commit a crime (so the files could be downloaded for our prosecution). Anyway, our Sci-Fi brethren would at least gain some benefit from my misguided ideation–reaping creative illumination from my innocent-turned-insidious little device.
Not that this isn’t all hypothetical at this point, anyway. I can barely change a light bulb without risking loss of life or limb, so building this technological wonder myself is out of the question. I suppose I could hire some combination of mad scientist and evil genius if he didn’t mind working for peanut butter sandwiches, but that route would just open a whole new can of worms. First off, I don’t have a dank, foreboding basement for this melding of technology and humanity to take place (nor do I have a stark subterranean lab that glows with an unhelpful green light). I do have a crawl-space, but that’s pretty much taken up by the hordes of mutant crickets this time of year and they don’t seem the roommate type. That means I’d have to put the evil scientist in my garage, which wouldn’t make him very happy because it’s not an evil garage. In fact, it’s quite sunny and nice. I could put him in the attic, but there’s barely room to walk up there, and, again, there’s nothing really evil about stacks of old architecture magazines and Christmas decorations.
I guess I’ll have to shelve the idea of the brain recorder for now and settle for playing VAST with the hopes I can retain at least a quarter of what I envisioned during the bolt to the computer. At least I’ll have a new batch of songs to listen to next month, so my inspiration can avoid growing stale.