Watching Sherlock Holmes (the newest movie) and contemplating what it is about this movie, and about the older episodes of House, that I find so very calming.
Yes, ladies, gentle folk, and those in between, ’tis a trip inside my head time. Do feel free to skip if you’re uninterested, but I will try to make it entertaining, despite its egocentric nature.
As many of you have probably noticed, I have a take on the world that is a bit unusual in some ways, not so much in others. The differences in my mind, in how it works as it processes is in some ways a blessing, some ways a curse.
I am good at school. I can twist and argue things well, which is why I do well as an English major. I have good grades there, not spectacular but a respectable B average after almost four years there. However, this same ability to twist my mind inside out around Kafka’s The Trial and work my way into a character’s emotions like a happy heartworm. For those of you that are scientists out there, ignore that “heartworms” mostly reside in the arteries in the lungs and run with the simile.
However, this same ability turns reality into a nightmare, where paranoia is justifiable by the sheer number of negative outcomes that can be thought up for every action and its reaction. It whirs, an overclocked CPU, taking the smallest pieces of information and expanding it, tracing it’s origin, route to the present, and the many ways it can meander into the future to significance or none, wanted or not. I cannot control when it decides to run off on these tangents– They can be summoned when needed, but once they appear, they cannot be stopped. If this process takes a dark turn, it can end with me turning into an angry, suspicious, cynical, inconsolable mess and there is really no way to properly explain how or why to most individuals. Not only does my mind run in all directions– it has the sadistic ability to convince me that whatever conclusion it comes to is right, or at least has a high enough possibility of being right that it will cause me to worry and take precaution.
My mind has the remarkable ability to synthesize the past, future, scenarios, sensations, reasoning, logic at a speed that would shame a cheetah. Despite the above problems, it does come in handy, and not only with school. A large part of why I am a writer has to do with the fact that if I try hard enough and harness that power, I can hack my way into a character’s mind to the point I feel the stitches of their clothing over my skin, the weight of their jewelry, know the breadth of their shoulders and how they have to move because of their shape and build, their inflections when they speak and the sound of their voice. I know their biases, their fears, their reasoning. Due to this immersion technique, I will pick up moods and mannerisms for whomever I am writing occasionally. Hell, I’ve been told I have a certain expression on my face when I write some of my best loved characters. I can synthesize a person from a touch of perfume, a tea, a turn of phrase. It’s alchemy. Beautiful, glorious alchemy of a god, where I turn not lead into gold, but clay into flesh.
My mind eats input, craves stimulation, and consumes itself when left idle, usually for the worst. My… sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Sherlock Holmes or House, both are brilliant detectives and utterly kick ass at what they do– they can solve things no one else can solve. They also are drug addicted, eccentric, and a complete and utter bitch to get along with.
It is arrogance to compare myself to those two, lowly being that I am. However, even in my most self loathing of moods, I can see similarities. I have a dangerous fondness for alcohol and painkillers that (thankfully) is kept carefully in check and under constant watch by myself and my dearest. I have eccentric tendencies. Where House sets the hospital on fire or Holmes lures flies into a bottle to experiment with how they react to his violin, I have been known to write compulsively on any flat reflective surface I can find and mutter River-esqe nonsense while gnawing my nails and lips until they bleed.
I suppose it is their kinship, perhaps, that is so calming. Their sound flowing of ideas and reasoning, the timbre of their voices as they explain their latest theory. Their own immersions into the minds of the criminals they’re chasing or the patients they’re treating. Or perhaps it is simply the fact that when Holmes and House go off on their flights of reasoning, it ends well. It doesn’t turn around and impale them. Usually. Perhaps it is even more soothing when it does.
Maybe what is most comforting is that for all of the shit that has happened to me, how people seem to avoid me, how I seem to have some repellent air about me, people like me can be useful. Needed. Needed enough that what little relief simply drugging myself into a stupor or worse can provide from the constant tangled blur inside me, I am worth more to the world awake, alert, functioning. Useful enough that someday, I will find where I am needed, much as House and Holmes have. Somewhere I am needed that will keep my mind active, awake, and busy so it does not consume itself. Somewhere that prevents the consumption and destruction without halting my mind or blood completely.