Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Focus Adventures

All right. We all know I'm prone to moments of brilliance - sometimes fleeting, but still - moments of brilliance.

And sitting in the basement of the physics department for lab this afternoon gave me one of those moments. Actually, it was probably the fact that my mind was wandering horribly and all I could think of was the recent exchange between me and my sister about our "Foci."

Some of you are probably looking at your computer screen like it's suddenly going to sprout wings, turn into a piglet, and fly away, so I'll take a moment and explain.

I think (and by this I mean, I'm trying to remember but really can't) this whole thing started earlier this year (last academic year, because really, that's how my "years" arrange themselves - and probably will until I graduate from college), nearing finals time, when I wrote on my Facebook status (back when updating your status was different that writing on your own wall) that I couldn't find my Focus. Or, something similar. My sister, ever brilliantly eloquent, responded in turn with about nine rows of FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS.... which somehow morphed into treating said "Focus" as a tangible, almost real thing.

Now I'm not exactly sure on Heather's mental picture when we mention the Foci (the plural form of Focus - yes, we finally figured this out) but I imagine mine to be something resembling the orange fuzzy thing from the Weight Watcher's TV commercials. They call it "hunger." I call it Focus.

Which has started something that is both slightly crazy but wonderfully hilarious. Because, quite honestly, everybody has days when they "lose their focus." Well, for us, losing our Focus (note the capitalization) usually means the damn thing has wandered away looking for the other to play with and cause general mayhem.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "[Insert Expletive Here], she's finally lost it."

But think about it. Really think about it. How many times have you said, "I can't seem to get a sense of myself today," or, "My patience has taken a holiday" or "I can't seem to find my focus"? That right there, you've made something intangible into something tangible, at least in your own head. "Victory so near you can taste it." Really? What does victory taste like? Where did your patience go on holiday? More specifically, when is it coming back and did it go with anyone to make sure it didn't get permanently lost?

Do you see what I'm saying?

I can still see it. Some of you are still looking at your computer like it's going to morph into something. Maybe the power cord is going to turn into a curly tail - wings have begun to sprout from the back - you feel the urge to oink.

And that right there, that's you imagining something semi-ridiculous in the reality that is life. We live in reality - most days I try to remember Adam Savage's quote from MythBusters "I reject your reality and substitute my own" and most days it works, but I digress, as usual - and sometimes the only way to escape the way that reality works is to find something that's unreal. That's why we read books. When we read books, we imagine the far-off places or the situations that we could, despite our deepest wishes, never find ourselves in. I know this. As a writer, it's my job to pluck my reader from their ordinary reality and shove them head-first into the world that I see, the world that, if it were possible, would be absolutely amazing to live in with its different creatures, people, and, yes, it's different problems. Because then some of mine would be either gone or somebody else's. Movies operate the same way - as a form of escape from things beyond our control, or as a way to relax. And by relax, I mean, more specifically, to relax your mind. You're allowed to forget, for a moment, that you have a ten-page paper due (not this time, really, but I do have a four-pager due for Acting) and you can indulge yourself in something harmless and slightly ridiculous.

That's why, every time my sister and I start on Facebook about one of us having misplaced our Focus, the other usually responds with, "Yup, he's here." Considering most of our family is on Facebook, the comments we get as we go back and forth mainly consist of, "What are you two doing? It's so funny, the way your "focus" goes back and forth, what are you really talking about?"

We're not really talking about anything but said Focus. There's no hidden innuendo. There's no secret message. We've taken a simple phrase, a metaphor - "I can't find my focus today" - and made it from a verbal metaphor into something more tangible.

And you know what? It gives me a way to laugh. It makes me realize that the same problems that I face here in college - procrastination, deadlines, lack of focus - are the same ones that people face in the workplace in the "real world." We aren't so different, you and I. I'm a little behind you in the age department, you people out there with real jobs and a different purpose in life, but really, we are similar. We both have goals, deadlines, people-to-people relationships with people we probably don't like, and look for something to make the day a little easier to get through. We both look for ways to laugh, to worry less, and love a little more. We look for ways to be comforted, to comfort, to fit in, and to not be lonely (except when we want to be.)

We both look for people to lean on when we need it. And when we lean on people, we look to them to make us laugh and smile, to chase away the sorrows, shadows, and, in some cases, reality.

This turned out a bit differently than I expected, and a bit longer, but I think that's all right. It went where it needed to go. I also didn't want you all to look at me like I was nuts when I started something different on my blog, something along the lines of Murphy and Me but not so deeply rooted in fiction. I wanted to start to bring you The Focus Adventures - another humorous look a the life of a college sophomore and her wandering, slightly over-caffeinated mind that never really stops trying to crank out interesting things/ways of looking at the world.

However, my Focus and I need to get some work done. Before I go, I hope this has made you smile and think a little differently. A little outside the box. Or maybe inside the box. Really, think however you think. I just hope you got a slight chuckle out of all of it.

Let your mind wander a little more.


HaB said...

40 miles away and you wrote exactly what I needed to read this morning.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fabulous!! It is nothing short of the truth.

Molly Louise said...

Thank you. I'm glad I've made both your mornings.

"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz