Logic and the Creative Mind

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When I was in college, I remember taking a logic class as part of a requirement for my linguistics minor. Aside from my French Civics class that I took while living in France (given by the most boring little French man quite possibly in the world), it is the only other course in which I received less than a B.

Logical, I am not. There was this one theorem that my professor taught that went something like this:

A equals B but B does not necessarily equal A.

It made absolutely no sense to me. How could two things be equivalent but not? My professor tried explaining it to me. My husband has tried explaining it to me (using the example that all Jacuzzis are hot tubs but not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis). That made more sense than whatever my professor had been trying to get through to me. Finally, laboriously, a breakthrough came, that wonderful ‘aha’ moment when everything crystallizes into perfect clarity.

When I started writing I finally understood.

All writers are dreamers, but not all dreamers are writers.

A equals B but B does not necessarily equal A.

By their very nature, writers are dreamers. I firmly believe that. People who write have such a gift for elevating the ordinary to extraordinary and creating stories that inspire, excite, and provoke thought. It always amazes me how writers are able to take the same words that are available for everyone to use and arrange them in a certain way to make something completely unique and fresh. We all have the words at our disposal and there is no end to the amount of brilliant people in this world with novel ideas floating in their heads, so why doesn’t everyone writer?

That’s when I understood what my professor and my husband had been trying to tell me. You can be a dreamer and create elaborate stories in your head, but if you don’t write them down, can you call yourself an author? What about all those so-called writers who talk a big talk on Facebook or Twitter about ‘working on their novel’ but accomplish nothing? If they do not put their ideas on paper, then can they be called a writer?

Personally, I don’t think so, and it’s for this simple reason: it is intimidating to take that leap.

There is a certain amount of vulnerability that exists in taking that step from thinker to doer, from dreamer to writer. Putting words out for people to read is a lot like an open house–you never know who is going to come, what they are going to like or dislike or how they are going to leave the place when they are done. It’s daunting, which is why up until this year I was a dreamer, not a writer.

Since taking that step, though, I’ve come to realize something else about writing that has made it easier to open that door and let people in. While it’s true that writing allows for vulnerability, it also forges a powerful connection between writer and reader. Words have meaning and carry tremendous power. Knowing that my words have the potential to inspire, excite or provoke thought is enough to keep me going in spite of the possibility that those who come to my open house are going to trash the joint.

If you’re like me and you’ve spent much of your life as B does not necessarily equal A, make that leap of faith. Make A equal B and see your dreams become reality.

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