It’s not absent mindedness. I’m in my elsewhere mind.

The other day my husband, who has two bad knees, was working on a project and asked me to retrieve some tools for him up at the shop, which I gladly did. My knees are still fine, and as long as I am able I intend to keep moving, even if it means running errands for my mobility-challenged husband.

The path to the shop passes through my garden, which always needs some attention. There are weeds to pull, dead leaves to trim, and at this time of the year, harvest to gather.

But to my credit, I did not get distracted by the leggy and spent petunias that are past their splendor and pull date. No, I stayed the course and headed up to the shop for the needed tools.

After gathering the screwdriver and hammer, feeling quite proud of myself for not forgetting what I came for in the first place, I retraced my path back to the house and through my neglected garden.

When I noticed the rotting spots on some of my beautiful peppers, that made me stop and investigate. Placing the tools on a nearby bench, I began looking for a cause and found a number of the fruit had been infected by earwigs. Turning my focus to ridding the plant from the infected peppers, hoping to stop the assault, it occurred to me how these nasty little bugs can take over a neglected garden.

If left unchecked, disease can spread and effect the entire nervous system of a plant. That same principle applies to how evil left unchallenged can take over an entire community of people.

That started a parade of wicked and juicy ideas. Picking off infected fruit, I was coming up with some creepy ways a Big-Bad-Troublemaker, AKA the antagonist, can beef up a storyline. (FYI – Big-Bad- Troublemaker is a modified version of Big-Boss-Troublemaker, courtesy of another creative soul – Thank you, Kristen Lamb! (Read Kristen’s post on Big-Boss-Troublemaker here)

Finding no more affected peppers, and having come up with some great evil ideas to incorporate into the next scene I’m writing, I felt rather confident and walked back into the house. With these fresh ideas bouncing around in my head, I was anxious to get to my laptop and pound them out, you know, before I forgot them.

Uh…yeah, you already know where this is going. I had completely forgot about the tools I left on the bench, the same tools I went up to the shop for and was so proud of myself earlier for remembering. The minute I walked into the house, my husband met me in the kitchen and gave me a confused look.


“Where are the tools?”

“Oh, I left them in the garden. I’ll be right back.”

As I turned to head back out the door, my husband muttered, “You are so absent minded.”

Thinking about that statement, I wonder: Is he right? Am I just suffering from old age and forgetfulness, or is it something different? Like…elsewhere mind?

As a woman in her sixth decade of life, my head has sixty years of thoughts and memories, and the longer one lives, the more thoughts and memories one will acquire. I would guess that number is somewhere in the trillions times a trillion.

Now, if you’re a writer, multiply that by another trillion. If you are a fiction writer, well, then that number can go to infinity.

Because of all of these thoughts that jump around in our heads on a daily basis, and even creep over into our sleep through our dreams, I think the term absent minded is not only wrong, it’s physically not possible. Our minds are always with us, ergo – not absent.

If we struggle to stay focused and notice our thoughts are jumping all over the place, that is considered having a ‘monkey-mind’, or unable to concentrate.

But is that a true statement, or is it a misunderstanding of how complex we really are? As a creative being, our minds are always creating, wondering, or building our art in our minds before we ever bring it into our reality.

That’s how it works. We are being in our ‘elsewhere mind’. Our minds are laying out a plot line, creating ideas of how a small little insect, (Big-Bad-Troublemaker) can infect the whole plant, (or the entire existence of the mortal world!) Those are the essential building blocks of a plotline between good and evil, right and wrong, all the stuff that makes for great stories.

My husband was wrong when he called me absent minded, but that’s okay. He doesn’t understand the mind of a storyteller. I’m no longer going to feel bad because I forgot what I was going for when I walk from one side of the house to the other.  It’s time to be lenient with ourselves and finally come to terms with our over-active brains. We’re not absent minded. Our minds are always creating, and sometimes in an elsewhere world.

I’m a storyteller, a writer, and a creative soul. If my mind has me traveling on a space ship to a planet inhabited by fluffy killer bunnies, well, that’s my right!

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