Lobotomy That Didn’t Quite Take


The two halves of my brain like to talk to one another. Not as in the split-personality kind of way, but as in, Hey! I’ve got this idea. Wanna work with me on it?

It’s like having a lobotomy that didn’t quite take.

We all know the pop-science concept of the left hemisphere controlling creativity, with the right hemisphere controlling logic. In weird human-body-fashion, this lateralization results in the right brain dominating the left side of the body and vice versa. While there is some quantifiable truth in this concept, it doesn’t really break down all that clean and perfect.

I am right-handed. I tend to notice lefties everywhere I go. There’s no telling how many store clerks, mechanics, salesmen, customers, and random folks on airplanes I have asked, “I see you’re left-handed. Are you creative?” I’d say, oh, about 90% of them chuckle and protest profusely that they’re not. So much for a dominant right-brain causing lefties to ooze with creativity.

Check out this tidbit from the all-knowing Wikipedia:

“A person’s preferred hand is not a clear indication of the location of brain function. Although 95% of right-handed people have left-hemisphere dominance for language, 18.8% of left-handed people have right-hemisphere dominance for language function. Additionally, 19.8% of the left-handed have bilateral language functions.[5] Even within various language functions (e.g., semantics, syntax, prosody), degree (and even hemisphere) of dominance may differ.[6]

So, what do my botched-lobotomy halves like to team up on? Well, just about everything. More specifically: art, furniture design, writing, witty things. (Does that bar me from being called a ‘half-wit’? Probably not.)

Left-brain likes spreadsheets and formulas. But right-brain likes to make them pretty with lots of sleek formatting and graphics. Creative right-brain likes to make stuff. And left-brain logically says, Let’s do it using stuff we already have. Let’s repurpose these things. Let’s make non-functional stuff functional.

OK, says right-brain. As long as we can also make it beautiful. So, they–we–do. Furniture, lighting, mirrors, accessories, art.

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So what does all this babbling about lobotomies & brains & pics of repurposed creations have to do with writing? I mean, after all, this is The Chronicles of a Fellow Seeking to Publish a Novel or Twelve, right?

  1. A writer is the sum of his parts. I don’t write in a vacuum. (Too much dust and dander in there.)  My stories are influenced by my surroundings, my likes and dislikes, random knowledge I have soaked up along the way, my experiences, my creativity, my quirkiness. My personality is infused in all I do.
  2. Writing is the repurposing of words.  The words are already lying on the table, stuffed in a hemisphere, haphazardly stacked in a corner. I have to pick them up, turn them over, look at each one from every angle and decide how they will best fit together to create a finished phrase, sentence, paragraph, chapter, novel. The end result has to be functional, but it also has to be beautiful.
  3. I like weird stuff. I’m not sure which lateral half of my brain this stems from. Maybe the creative-right? But, hell, maybe it’s the logical-left which is trying to make sense of the odd/unique/off. This holds true in the people and things I surround myself with, and the premises and concepts I incorporate into my writing.

All this comes together to make me who I am as a person–first–and then as a writer.

I dig spreadsheets, math, order, patterns, and symmetry.
I dig impulsive decisions, creating, chaos, randomocity, and things that are askew.
Add in psychology, Dali, hard science, skydiving, mythology, documentaries, medical oddity specimens, square-toed shoes, poetry, physics, spiritualism, and shiny things.

Compute it all, embellish the edges, and toss in the variable of two hemispheres which get along (most the time); and you have a silhouette of the joker composing this post.

While not officially the victim of a botched lobotomy, my lobes definitely fire at different times. I’m just glad they choose to aim at the same targets. It takes a pretty unified front to make the craziness happen. So, thanks, left-brain. Thanks, right-brain.

You’re welcome, they answer in unison.

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3 thoughts on “Lobotomy That Didn’t Quite Take

  1. I learned some time a go from a wise source that the Corpus Callosum, the network that connects the right and left hemispheres is becoming more active and complete as evolution progresses and that we as humans are moving toward whole brain state, you are certainly one I would point to as an example of this phenomenon, I wonder if we will also be ambidextrous?

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    • That’s a great tidbit, Linda. Thx for sharing it. The whole potential-of-the-human-brain is fascinating. I hear and read about things like this and I feel kind of selfish. I don’t want it to happen years and lifetimes from now! I’m hoping we find the key and unlock that potential in my lifetime. The sooner the better. Come on, artists and scientists! Let’s make it happen. Today.

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  2. I never liked the right vs left brain theory stuff in psychology, although it’s probably because I’m ambidextrous and don’t like pitting them against each other like other people seem to 🙂 I’m also a fan of psychology, and when I was younger I took this long test (I can’t remember what it’s called, but I was like 12 at the time, so that’s not surprising) that was supposed to determine whether I was more creative or more logical. Apparently each section had sister sections; if you were good at the one, statistics showed that you were good at the other. They also had opposing sections; if you were good at the one, you were bad at the other (or less good, anyway). Even in the clinical analysis of my results, the reviewer couldn’t hide his amazement that I scored in the 99th percentile of every section, whether it was creative or logical.

    Of course, my mother still thinks that I’m mostly creative. I only use logic when it suits me.

    And random comment: I love Dali. If I could own his Last Supper piece, I would die a very happy woman.

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