So, what do you think? Actually, how do you think? I had never given that question much thought, or any at all for that matter, until, while reading an article, I was confronted with it. Specifically, it asked if I thought in words or in pictures. I suddenly realized that I didn’t have a clue.
Maybe it was a trick question. You know, one of those that concludes with “surveys have shown etc., etc.”, and then goes on to introduce you to a product or philosophy. However, that was not the case. Turns out, we all think in one or the other, or both. For some, it is obvious. Authors think in words, while artists think in images. But how about the rest of us?
I for one tend to lean towards words. If I look at a picture, I will think about what I see, form an opinion, and move on. If I read words, I will do the same, but more often then not, the words will stay with me. To me, they have more impact. I guess that is why I write instead of paint. However, two people I know come to mind immediately that are both creative artists and accomplished writers. I would love to get inside their minds and observe their thought process. Do words lead them to pictures, or pictures to words, or are they separate processes?
I recently had the good fortune to be sent a copy of a poem/story that was written by my good friends nine year old daughter. She, it appears, is one that thinks in words. I have often been enchanted by the imagination of children. Their minds are free to think and go where ever they want without concern for the destination. To them, it is the trip that is important. Abby had just returned from a walk with her mom when she sat down and started writing. This is what she created:
I take walks with my family when the earth is covered with leaves
I take walks with my family when the air smells like snow
The time when my dog Finny is springing with anticipation to go, to go, to go
That’s not right to go for he is always trying to stay
But now he’s whining to get back
I look to the side at the old train track for my dogs’ ears gesture back
And I hear it…tee roo roooooooooo
Finny squints his eyes and sees it too
The most scary site I could see
I closed my eyes as horror struck me
For the life of me I could not explain
This horrible ghost train
I hoped and dreamed that it would pass
But at the same time, I realized that dream might be my last
Then I heard a sound
A ghostly, scratchy, howley sound,
With Finny at my side, I opened my eyes to see a ghostly conductor holding his head
And again, he said,
His face was directed toward me
He said tomorrows the thirty-first of October
Oh, dear my birthday!
He said, “is anyone born then?”
I Lied. I said no its May thirteenth.
The others lied too until we were there
But I never forgot that ghost train
Since reading this, I have tried to conjure up a picture of a ghost train. By that, I mean a canvas embellished with colors and images. I have not met with much success. I have however digested the words and let my imagination create my own ghost train. I can see it. I can feel it. For me, it is words that create my pictures.