March 8th, 2014

There’s a doorman in the entrance of my apartment building who is almost as lenient as the doorman at the entrance of my mind. In many ways, they are similar, though the doorman in my apartment doesn’t have a funny accent or a dry sense of humor. The job of the doorman in my brain is much more difficult. Every day, every hour, every minute, there are thousands and thousands of visitors, lining up to try and enter the rooms and apartments in my head.

Some of them are friends: Ideas that I’ve invited over for a cup of tea or to watch a movie. Ideas that just want to visit that business proposition that is staying in my brain in apartment C23, or the art project that’s been staying over in DD40, right next to that screenplay idea that I’ve been developing. Sometimes, if they’re friendly visitors, I’ll let them stay. Sometimes, they stay for good. That is the best kind of visitor.

But there are also visitors that I’m not so keen on having visit. Most of the time, the doorman of my brain does a decent job of screening them, but there are so many ideas that appear at in the lobby of my mind like a seductive young French woman, looking for a place to stay, that the doorman doesn’t have the judgment to reject. He leads them to a room, allows them to stay, makes them comfortable and checks on them. He brings them dinners and breakfasts and sometimes even slips them a key so they can sneak in and out without his guidance. They begin to make my brain their home, even though they aren’t welcome. And they definitely don’t pay rent.

But the doorman isn’t the only one in my mind who is inefficient: The grounds keeper of the apartment building where all of my ideas stay has slacked off in certain areas. The main floors get all of the attention: Thay’re cleaned every day, with clean windows and cleaned carpets, freshly maintained plumbing and hardware. And yet, in the lowest basement level, rats and rodents and worms and bugs have crept their way into the building, making this brain of mine the home to ideas that aren’t welcome. They take up space, they drive other ideas away, they make my mind an unpleasant place to live, and an unpleasant place to stay. There are birds that nest in the windowsills, and raccoons that feed on my subconscious trash, disturbing the other ideas that live within the building.

I remember when my doorman started working in my head – My ideas were getting out of control and more and more were pouring in each day – Thoughts and ideas and images and dreams were pouring into the city of my brain, and I needed a way to screen them. I showed my doorman the lay of the land, I showed him the floors and the halls where my ideas lived and breathed and grew. As I left the building, I was excited and glad: If there was ever a place where my thoughts could thrive, this was it.

I returned last week, and fired my doorman and my groundskeeper. I’m not sure what happened, if it was my fault or their fault. I’m not sure if it was the places I was going, the music I was listening to, the people that I hung out with, the books that I read, the websites that I visited, or if it was something else. But they were doing a terrible job of keeping out the ideas that had no business being there. As the doorman left, he had one thing to say:

“You know,” he said, in his funny accent, “the doorman in an apartment can never be better than the ideas and thoughts that try to enter.”

As he left the apartment, I wondered if he was right.

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