Tuesday, November 5, 2013


When I'm reading a book and I get really engrossed in something, I sometimes feel a tickling in my brain.

This sounds alarming, but it's really not. That's the sensation of learning new things and creating new patterns of thought. Even after a torrid, decades-long affair with the printed word, it's still startling enough to break me out of my reverie and check over my shoulder, to make sure someone's not tickling me with a feather.

It's the feeling you get when one puzzle piece fits into another or when you wire up an outlet and a light pops on. It's like realizing the twist of a well-written screenplay, and feeling the wind knocked out of you, but in a good way.,

I can picture exactly what it looks like, too. Remember the old myth about the brain developing a new wrinkle every time it learns something? That tickle is your gray matter stretching and creasing, in a way that it just now figured out.

In college, that tickle is how I knew that I was onto something, and that I'm just made forward progress. The faintest little sensation in my cranium now makes me lean forward in my chair and reach for a notepad. Like a trail of breadcrumbs, signalling that you're on the right track.

Sadly, it's a sensation that I feel less and less nowadays, as work, daily life and other obligations take up more and more time, leaving less time for reading. But today, I'm not doing much of anything, and I cracked open a book. And there it was, hidden somewhere between chapters 3 and 4.

Hello, old friend.

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Do you suspect that the tickling is actually a nest of tiny spiders that just hatched in my brain? If you're a medical professional and you know the cure for spider-brain, please post it the space below. Quickly.