Intake vs. Production

by Nic Olson

When I read poetry, I write poetry. When I read fiction, I write fiction. When I look at black and white photos, I take black and white photos. The gap between ingestion and production is often several days, so if I want to write a decent poem I have to read fifty good poems a week in advance, and then the styles often cooperate, that is, I write how I read. From the source (X), idea filters through a screen to keep the insects out, and is regurgitated as new (Y).

X ≈ Y
i.e. X is pretty much equal to Y
The skeleton is the same.

In a day a human constantly observes new ideas, images, thoughts, literature, sights, styles that are not his or her own. Today when I wasn’t reading I was listening to music, when I wasn’t listening to music I was watching a movie, when I wasn’t watching a movie I was on the internet, when I wasn’t on the internet I was listening to the radio. These are all filtered through the mind’s small screen that cannot allow all of the data through, so the bits and pieces considered relevant or consequential but small enough to slip through the squares of the metal screen, make it through and end up with the personal flavour of the mind it travelled through.

To ensure decent production we must ensure decent ingestion, like an athlete’s body. The constant entertainment that we demand is created as mindlessly as we decide to devour it. Parallel to the nutritional food rhetoric that we have learned to ignore, we are the vapid television shows that we watch constantly. We are the money worshipping music that we put in our headphones. We are the poorly written sports articles that we browse daily. And if we put nothing in, nothing comes out. Our minds are our bodies.

I have become an easily influenced social leper. What I write is a direct coffee filter version of what I read. If I stopped reading, nothing would come out. I used all of my sociality when it was necessary on the road. I became comfortable with strangers and friends I haven’t seen in ages, but now, maybe out of social exhaustion, I have lost the ability to seem like I give a shit. My intake of the socially able has not subsided in any way but my production has halted as if the filter were clogged.

I am like echos off of a mountain wall. A bedroom with another layer of paint on it. For my production’s health I need to control what I take in, and enjoy the moments when there is nothing forcing itself upon my mind except trees in the wind or the light on the road. Or else my filter will become clogged and my production of decent thoughts will become like my recent social ineptitudes.