Archive for February, 2009

Time Goes By …

February 12, 2009

winter park

I’m busy writing a sequel, and thoroughly enjoying getting back to some creative writing, watching ideas spring out of the flow of words on the screen. There’s no feeling quite like it.

Creating something is the only way I’ve found to slow down time. You would think it would be the opposite, that being absorbed in the creative process would distract you from the passage of time, so that when you notice the clock again you exclaim, “Wow! Is that the time?!”  One associates time dragging with boredom and time racing with being busy, but there must be a difference between busy-ness and creative preoccupation.

Maybe it’s to do with brain waves (no, not brainwaves: brain waves, though they are connected). I saw a programme about intelligence last night and it advocated emphasising your theta waves if you wish to maximise clarity of thought, memory, etc. Theta waves come to the fore when you are totally absorbed in an activity – and I suppose I’m saying that you can’t create without being absorbed in the creative process. So maybe the brain’s perception of time slows down during theta wave production.

The expert mentioned sportspeople being ‘in the zone’ as an example of theta wave prominence, and one of the consequences of being in the zone is that the sportsperson seems to have more time to react than the normal player. Time slows down. Cricket commentators talk a lot about ‘timing’, about ‘seeing the ball early’, and all sportspeople regularly go in and out of form, that elusive state.

Well, it’s possible that ‘form’ is the ability to give prominence to theta waves, an ability which can be disastrously compromised by what the pundits call ‘outside distractions’. If you’re full of ‘Just Married’ emotions, or your first baby is due any day, or you’re worried about your ankle niggle, or you had a row with a team mate, those theta waves will stay firmly locked down and no matter how much you’ve practised, no matter how good your technique, the ball will arrive at your bat or racquet at its proper speed and, while your technique might allow you to make contact with the ball, without the extra millisecond granted by theta wave prominence, your timing will be rubbish – you’re out of form. This helps to explain silly losses like England v West Indies recently and England v Spain even more recently.

I like the idea that there is a link between artistic creation and playing sport at the top level.