Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting In the Groove

Over the summer I took a very intensive calculus course.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know that I passed that course, like a boss.  On the way I learned a few things about routine and daily rituals.

Beep. Beeep. Beeeeeeep buzzes the alarm, waking me up from a semi-confusing dream of late papers, car accidents, and missed airplanes.  I close my eyes, pleading for just a few more minutes.  After hitting the snooze button twice - hey, I'm human - I roll out of bed.  The house is dark, except for the light in the kids' room, and I shut the bedroom doors to encourage their continued sleeping.

I fix my breakfast and warm drink, blearily make my way to the office, and sit in the comfortable chair.  Within minutes I have my Calculus book open, the computer buzzing its own morning tune, and my notebook paper filled clipboard ready to go.  The equations, a little blurry this early in the morning, soon waken the sleeping mathematical curiosity, and I start drawing and writing with vigor on my clipboard.

In class later that morning, I jot down ideas on how I would teach a mathematics course to a group of university students.  Allowing my imagination to go, I find ways of teaching myself through this process, as I ask the questions I am sure these students wonder - "what's the meaning behind this?", "why do I have to do this instead of what seems like an easier way?", and, the quintessential question for every math course, "how the he!! does this apply to my life?"

(Interestingly, I find the last question easiest to answer.  The implications for physics, biology, and daily activities - financial decisions, successful physical activity implementation, maximizing one's time and minimizing risks - are all found through mathematical equations.)

Writing, my first real interest, has helped hone my mathematical skills.  Communicating effectively, especially in writing, is essential for spreading ideas and disseminating information. It's also an excellent way to really learn an idea.  If I can write down the steps and processes by which I'm computing an equation, and explain these steps to a peer, I can memorize these steps and apply them in later equations.

In the typical school year, when the semester is still busy but not as busy as summer, 5:30 is my prime writing time.  Looking at blank screen and creating a post or essay about something that either excites and amuses me, is necessary for my mental health.  As words pour from my brain onto the screen, I can ignore or understand those anxious and depressive thoughts that too often plague me.

As with math, I find my writing is best when I keep a notebook handy for random thoughts, and think about verbally expressing my writing to a friend or stranger. Is my point clear? Have I left out an integral part of the story? Is their reaction expected with regards to the emotion behind the post?

And, like in math, I use available resources to facilitate writing: dictionaries, thesauri, grammatical books, etc.
Each of these rituals are natural components of my day.  I have several apps on my phone that allow my creativity to flow - even while I'm busy doing chores or walking - so I can write essays in my head.

I guess, as much as I veer away from the term, I would consider myself a writer.  Even if I choose to write about nontraditional subjects.

Today at Project: Underblog, we are discussing our daily creative rituals.  Link up with us!

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