This blog dates back to the spring of 2013 when a new chapter of my life had just begun. My husband and I embarked on an adventure travelling across the continent from our home in Toronto to San Francisco with a newborn in tow. My partner’s work hours were long. I found myself alone, without family and friends nearby during what was the most transformative phase of my life. This blog gave me a space to share the challenges and triumphs of motherhood, connect with those near and far, and, for the first time ever, it also gave me an opportunity to explore a creative side of myself.
I don’t write as often as I did when I was a stay-at-home mom. The responsibilities of two young children, full-time work, a rigorous Master’s program, and running a household have taken priority. But, the truth is, I miss it. I miss thinking out loud without actually speaking. I miss simply letting the words flow effortlessly and quietly.
So, here I am. Back at it.
The blog is no longer entitled “Adventures of a New Mom,” though. This is in part because I don’t think I’m a new mom any longer (though, just as confused as one) and partly because I’d like to write about more than motherhood here.
Why “Write Brain”?
According to conventional wisdom, people tend to have a personality or thinking style that is either “right-brained” or “left-brained. “Left-brainers” are the analytical type. They are quantitative and ruled by logic. Conversely, “right-brainers” are creative free thinkers, who are qualitative and intuitive.
But, the science around this is a bit fuzzy. Sure, some brain functions reside more on one side of the brain. For example, in some case studies, we have seen that damage to the front part of the brain is linked with motivation and planning, while the back of the brain is associated with visual processing. However, there is little evidence that illustrates creativity or logic reasoning residing in one side of the brain in the same way.
A large scale study from the University of Utah took a look at brain scans of 1000 participants between the ages of 7 and 29 and no evidence of “sidedness” was found. That is, the brain scans demonstrated that activity is similar on both sides of the brain regardless of one’s personality. The authors concluded that being “left-brained” or “right-brained” were more a figure of speech than a reference to describing brain function.
I find this particularly interesting as I’ve always thought of myself as a numbers person. I’m not sure if this identity is one that I have adopted on my own or was given to me by teachers or parents. I dropped music and arts courses (although I enjoyed them tremendously) by the time I was in Grade 9 in order to pursue courses in math and science and eventually a degree in neuroscience. As the years went on, my supposed left-brain self slowly diverged from a right-brain that never really was. Even in adulthood, I made no time in my life to create any form of art and was quite content with merely being a consumer of art.
It wasn’t until the spring of 2013, when I found myself in a different world — physically, emotionally, and mentally, that I began to create. Everything from mundane musings in the form of a blog post to attempts at poetry and art brought me joy. Real, inexplicable, sense-of-accomplishment joy. I was breaking out of that self-imposed, left-brain mould and it felt wonderful.
In science, we often speak about how matter and energy in the universe are never created nor destroyed. In some ways, creativity bends those rules. Art creates something from nothing at all. A blank page can turn into a stunning piece of visual art, a moving musical composition, or a captive piece of writing — all of which have the incredible ability to transcend time and space to capture another human heart. This is truly remarkable.
Write Brain is a reminder that it makes no difference whether you consider yourself “right-brained” or “left-brained.” We can all create in some way. For those who find a paintbrush or piano intimidating, I urge you to consider a pen. Write to find your voice and discover your passions. Write to share your knowledge and vent your frustrations. Write to channel your creativity.
Write to create something from nothing.