verbal thinker

I am a verbal thinker, and yet, I am no kind of poet. I do occasionally write poetry, but never as an end in and of itself; I do it as an exercise to enliven my prose. Intuitively, this seems wrong somehow – I live and breathe in words, automagically giving English life to everyday detail, but the notion of distilling things down to some sort of burning verbal essence holds no interest for me. The process is almost frightening, and with every bit I cut out I wonder if I’ve just lost something important (my poems are always whittled down, never built up, and I have difficulty imagining how it would feel to carefully add word to word, though I know it must happen sometimes).

I’ve also been trying to reconcile my inherent verbosity with the fact that I do math. Even when I’m doing mental arithmetic, it usually boils down to the little rhymes I made up in third grade to remember the multiplication tables. There are times when I am hit blunt in the face with how much easier certain aspects of math and physics would be if I were a better spatial thinker. I have a tendency to talk myself through lines of algebra when really, a simple geometric argument would do the same job in less time, and at three in the morning, that can be frustrating. This is probably why I’m not a quantum theorist – I like to tell stories, and the stories one can tell about particles in boxes really aren’t that interesting translated from math, but stories about rocks can be told using almost any method one likes.

I had a point in mind when I started writing this. Really, I did. But I can’t for the life of me remember what it might have been. Maybe this’ll be enough to remind me tomorrow.
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