Living With Scattered Attention

I make a lot of jokes about the inner workings of my brain, but the truth is it isn’t as fun as it sounds. I recently likened it to Werner Herzog and Benny Hill chasing squirrels in some tragic comedic scenario. The truth is, I don’t have a diagnosis and won’t have one. I live in a floundering country where medical attention is only for a select portion of the very poor or any of the wealthy. Not that a diagnosis would change anything. Is it a form of autistic spectrum? ADD? Obstinate artist brain? I don’t know. What I do know is there are some things that do and don’t work in my world. By sharing them, perhaps other creative brains can find some solidarity.

What doesn’t work like everyone else

I do know that doing one thing and consistently doing it, and honing that one thing to mastery is not something I’m able to do. I am in utter wonder and awe at people who devote a life perfecting their craft or skill. I can start on that path, collect a bunch of stuff to go down the path, and when things just start to come together, I suddenly can’t stand it.

The same goes for employment. Full time employment at one job ends up being torturous. I have no idea how anyone can go to the same job, 40 hours a week, at the same place, doing the same thing, with the same people, for years on end. It’s simply a soul crushing idea to me.

A lot of things come in and out of my mind. memories are either very potent, present and traumatic, or non existent. Distraction by sudden inspiration is common. One new idea can become persistent until I try it.

Aphantasia is part of my world. which is strange for someone who claims to be “Creative”. I simply don’t visualize anything in my control. However, flashes of troubling memories on occasion are a curse.

When someone says, “Close your eyes and imagine an apple”, I can only assume they are talking about preparing to discuss a memory. I am simply beside myself at the wizardry when people tell me they can literally see the apple when they close their eyes.

Social interactions are a treat (sarcasm). I either truly enjoy them or avoid them. I might be inspecting a person’s mouth or eye parts while they speak. Or maybe relating so much to their story that I’m missing the words… and the point.

What Does work

I manage to keep things interesting by working for my friends at the local bowling alley a couple days a week, installing garage doors one or two days, being a videographer at the local TV station on occasion, writing and publishing tabletop RPGs, making things in wood and selling them, web design, or a flurry of other activities that currently hold interest.

It seems like a lot of jobs, but it pools up an income and the complete torture of being stuck in a life time job is avoided.

I do manage to have time and resources to be creative and follow the “squirrels” that pop up. Sell on etsy, make a podcast, record a video, photography, whatever. These things couldn’t be done without loosely defining “employment”.

We aren’t alone

This way of being isn’t unique. Some of us just don’t fit into the way society works, but I feel lucky enough to be in one that let’s me adapt in my own way. Not everyone can be so lucky. I hope people remember that LIFE isn’t Monday through friday 9-5. Your life isn’t a paycheck, that’s what you sold some of it for. People with hobbies are interesting. They are eager for time with themselves.

Art Tribe