“If it is a serious problem with a particular clay body, consider adding some grog to your clay or change clay bodies.”
It hit me the other night as I sat in front of my computer: man, I’m really weird! I was happily nodding along, learning more about ceramic glazes than I really needed to know (seriously! I almost failed chemistry in high school, and this is pure chemistry.) I read this sentence and it was like reading a sentence in a foreign language that I could understand – pretty cool!
“Hi, my name is Mary, and I have a serious problem with rabbit holes.”
I didn’t need to go that far
You see, I had to teach a class to elementary school kids about ceramics and pottery. It’s a basic class – about 15 minutes of me talking. A brief overview of the history of pottery, how it’s done, while sprinkling in a few famous pottery samples.
Somehow, I ended up researching how glazes are made. Because one of the videos we were going to watch showed the artist creating his own glaze out of white beech bark. My brain said “ha! That’s not possible! It’s just bark, and bark would burn off in the kiln.” So I had to go look it up.
Which is how I ended up reading about fluxes, looking up the definition of grog, and checking to see the requirements for Raku firing.
My kids are my mirror
It’s funny – the more I learn about my kids, the more I realize about myself. My son’s endless curiosity clearly has roots in my questing search for knowledge. “Mom, what’s the best rollercoaster in the world?” I have no glib answers: “I don’t know, we’ll have to look it up. Define best?”
“Mom, that bird is soaring on air currents, but how do they work? What are they even called?” My brain stuttered for a moment before it popped out “thermals! They’re called thermals. All I know is that warm rising air has something to do with it, we’ll have to look it up.”
He’s an unending ball of questions, but so am I.
A brief look into my brain
It’s midnight: and my brain suddenly wants to know what are the symptoms of autoimmune kidney disease. I’m off and running, looking it up on Google and dimming the light so I don’t wake my husband up. Then it decides that I simply HAVE to know if the sun rotates or not, so now I’m punching that into the search engine.
If Google wants to sell my information to anyone, they’re going to have a really hard time figuring out what categories I fit into. It’s a bewildering mix – and so is my brain.
I have so many questions. I’ll never find the answers to all of them!
The problem with rabbit holes
I’m ok with having questions. I’m not ok with them taking over my life or forcing a trajectory I didn’t anticipate. I can’t just …. turn it off. Once my brain poses a question and I dive into that rabbit hole, it’s all or nothing. I literally have to understand the subject or I can’t disengage. That’s a problem when I’m staring bleary-eyed at the computer screen and I need to go get some sleep.
Rabbit holes are fun, right up until you can’t get out. And there’s the struggle.
I guess you could call it an executive functioning issue – the inability to shut things down and do the bare minimum. It’s probably even linked to my perfectionism: being perfect even at researching. Doing the minimum is never enough. I need to know it all!
Only the interesting stuff
Now, clearly I’m a functioning adult, so I’ve managed to throttle the rabbit holes into some sort of submission. My brain comes to my rescue, only wanting to know the interesting stuff. My version of interesting. Sometimes I can satisfy it with a short answer: the sun does rotate, and the poles rotate slower than the equator due to some weird gas movement thing. My brain said “huh! that’s weird!” and moved on to something else.
It’s a strange feeling – I have all these bits of miscellaneous knowledge stored in my brain, but I still can’t remember what I was looking for when I went downstairs. Or where my phone went. Or any number of mundane (not interesting) things that I need to be able to function. I’ve clogged all the available brain cells up with ridiculously obscure information!
Oh and yeah – the sun’s core spins faster than the outer layers. Now you know.
This post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hop about Gifted People & Rabbit Holes – click on the image or link to go read more interesting posts about this fascinating subject! (and go down a few rabbit holes yourself .)