I was working out the logic for a database project at work when it hit me that it probably wasn’t normal for a fiction writer to be engaged in such a left-brain activity. I’m not supposed to be concerned with logic, or numbers, or any of the stuff I do at work. I’m supposed to wrap myself in flowery prose and serenade the world with my cute, yet impractical, idealism.
Fiction writers are supposed to be some minor tribe of artists. We should be ruled by that beautiful, playful, cursive hemisphere on the right. We’re supposed to ignore any straight-laced, know-better-what’s-good-for-you meddling by that block-style left half. That’s how it’s supposed to be, but until my fancy-pants right brain starts kicking in his share of the rent, it seems like the left brain is determined to make old Righty keep his poetic clutter tucked away in his own room.
I don’t know how writers who really are ruled by their right brains actually function. If that were me, I would not be a writer. I wouldn’t be a writer because I wouldn’t write anything. Righty has touching sentiments, and sometimes he has hilarious gags. But none of them would make it to paper if Righty were allowed to rule himself.
Righty likes to play too much; he’ll write down those profound thoughts later. Later would never come if not for steadfast Mr. Left’s incessant pounding on Righty’s bedroom door, demanding to know when something concrete is going to come of all his lofty thoughts. Righty lacks organization. His room would be a wonderland of wasted potential if not for Mr. Left’s iron heel.
Righty is always getting ready to write something really good. When Mr. Left is not busy securing income, he tunnels his way through the stacks of old newspapers in Righty’s room and makes his flakey roommate actually start. Left pins Righty down at his desk until Left has to go off and do some math somewhere else, whereupon Righty drifts away to gambol through the hoarder’s paradise that is his side of the skull.
You might think Righty and Mr. Left would make for unhappy roommates, but this is hardly the case. Righty secretly craves Mr. Left’s structure. Once in a while, Righty will actually come over to Left’s land of right angles and ask Left to help him organize his thoughts, because Righty wants the world to see his art, and he knows he cannot make this happen by himself.
Riding Righty’s back is hard work, but Mr. Left doesn’t complain. Mr. Left is no fool; he pays the bills, but he knows Righty has great potential. If he can impose discipline on Righty, maybe, just maybe, Righty will realize his unlikely dreams. If that were ever to happen, Mr. Left wouldn’t have to work so hard every day to make sure the rent gets paid. He might even go on a little vacation with Righty and find out how it feels to have some fun.