A light blue dusk, turning green trees slowly into darkened silhouettes.
Red walls, yellow lights in the cafe... front wall of glass, China outside. The large bay doors showing that light blue dusk.
Working on a brushed-metal thin laptop, encased in a smooth clear plastic protective case. My fingers click-clicking satisyingly on the keys.
1990's rap music plays in the white headphones, transmitted from the computer... the music is streaming from Youtube, accessed through a VPN connection to bypass the Great Firewall.
Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to welcome to you
All the way from the slums of Shaolin
Special uninvited guests
Came in through the back door
Ladies and gentlemen, it's them!
The trumpets are the best part of the music.
And as I listen, I listen at a point in space and time. That trumpet sound plays for just a moment, and then it's gone... and there's then another trumpet blast, and then that's gone...
And isn't that just the way?
I woke up at 4:30PM after sleeping at 7:30AM. It's hard to measure the days when sometimes you're staying awake for 30+ hours working and playing, and other times you're crashing out the whole day. So, was it "two days ago" that I crashed out the whole day? And "three days ago" that I was en fuego the whole day, up on stimulants and doing unreal amounts of work until morning.
And eh, it's interesting, three days ago on has already receded, waned from view and memory, taken its place the past. Three days ago is dead, just like the trumpet blast from two seconds ago is dead.
Now what Clan you know wit lines this ill?
Bust shots at Big Ben like we got time to kill
Niggas can't gel or I'm just too high to tell
Put on my gasoline boots and walk through hell
Gasoline boots and walk through hell. I loved that line, it became something like a mantra. Winston Churchill said, "When going through hell, keep going." But I liked taking a step further. When you see hell on the horizon, get your gasoline boots on first. It's not so much challenges and strife that upset us, rather it's the ones that catch us by surprise. You can bleed in tranquility if you choose to bleed, it's when you don't understand why you're bleeding that the pain hits you.
For, what is pain but electrical signals interacting with your synapses and hormones and whatever? And, isn't it right that after some time passes, the pain is committed to the past, gone forever like yesterday's sunrise or sunset?
Oh, but it feels so real in the moment.
And like pain, creativity can wax and wane, some mix of chemicals and electricity coursing differently. Biochemistry up, biochemistry down. Soundwaves from music can stimulate thought patterns, prompt and provoke a certain way of thinking, alter your brain chemistry...
And then it's gone! Anguish or embarassment fades into the past as a trumpet blast plays, divine inspiration strikes. Bloodsugar rises or falls, along with circadian rhythms and ultradian rhythms and dopamine and heartrate and adenosine and adrenalin and cortisol...
...this is learnable to some extent. With practice and patience, you can get an impression of what different substances and environmental interactions do your biochemistry and moods.
I mentally run through mine -- sugar levels, Piracetam, coffee. When did I last sleep, how much am I working? Where's my creativity at? What kind of music is going to prompt a shift? Trumpet blasts and enjoyable nostalgia mixed with good coffee...
And when up fades to down, then what? Is it better to go with it, to go down a while and recharge? Or to fight your way through, to force your creativity up and perform? And if you go down, then how to get back? To relax back into it, with calm expectancy? Or to charge into action?
There is some disagreement on this. No formula has been synthesized that guarantees good creative work and expression.
Wit 9 generals, 9 ninjas in your video
9 milli blow, semi auto wit no serial
Man metaphysical, I speak for criminals
Who don't pay they bills on time and fuck wit digital
Never seen, smoke a bag of evergreen
My sword got a jones, more heads for the severing
Johnny in the dungeon, takin all bets, throw ya ones in
Scared money don't make money, throw ya guns in
There's a certain absurdity to creativity... a mashing-up of thoughts that don't quite belong together, that staying in a perfectly logical and ordered way of thinking can't quite generate. And yet, most of these mashed-up thoughts lead to chaos, nothing of value whatsoever... it's like a mix of volatile chemical elements in a disorganized lab, and then striking a match and tossing it over your shoulder.
The end result? Much of the time, not an explosion but a dull fizzle. You mix some concoction, strike the match, and then!
Oh, and then somewhat more often you get some minor catastrophe, the set of ideas and whirring and wheeling gears in a smoking explosive mess.
Oh, and then, occasionally, rarely, you make a huge breakthrough.
Which is nice.
Dead serious, take flicks and don't smile
Tryna get money, y'all cats is wild
I pose for the clothes, make a song like wild
I'm a chip off the board game, got sword game
Live life to the fullest, still want more fame
Darts on layaway, beats on standby
Outfits pressed up, ready for airtime
A woman in a yellow silk dress, cut right her to her knee, and elaborate yellow sandal-shoe-heels. She sways back and forth as she walks, but her right leg drags slightly across the ground in not-quite a glide. Perhaps an injury, time passing? Obviously a beauty in youth, her years pass, things change, they aren't quite right. As a trumpet blasts in the headphones, a bloom in spring, and then a blue dusk, and a faint black outline of a tree against a black night sky.
But the power stays on, the electricity, the yellow lighting gleaming across the glass walls. Nature is impermanent, but more permanent than humanity, certainly more permanent than music.
Because the notes might stay in the same a composition, but you listen to music at one time in one place at one moment in your thinking, your creativity, your own lab full of chemicals and electricity and lighting. And that musical composition gets you at that moment just once, and you've got it just once, and then it's dusk, fleeting slightly away, and then it's gone.
And then, another thought and moment committed to the past; already gone -- but what did you do with it? You've only got right now. Are you spending it well?
I meant specifically for coding. I know it works in general, but the few anecdotes I've seen of using it for developing software are less cheery.
Then again, it doesn't seem like a common practice.
You might find this page useful for information on Modafinil, if you haven't seen it yet: http://www.gwern.net/Modafinil
Because you are exactly who I would expect to be on top of this... Do you already know about TDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation)? Do you have an opinion on it?
Just mentioning because you talk about no formula for flow... And so far, that seems like the closest humankind has come to such a thing.
But it's early in the research, and I have no idea if it works...
There are a few brain-enhancing technologies that seem so obviously promising... And I feel bad not immediately grabbing them and seeing if they work for me. Like, Provigil? If that works for coding... (Does it? No idea.)
I'm doing some work for an old friend of mine.
His situation is interesting. Not too long ago, he lost his job and got divorced, and otherwise his life got pretty screwed up and off-track.
He left the United States, took a job below his old skill level for a while, and then stopped that and started a company. Now he's living an exceptional life, and on the verge of making a lot of money.
I thought that was awesome, and I was quite happy for him. After we'd gotten done going through a lot of numbers, choosing some vendors, designing some systems, and otherwise figuring business out on the phone, we talked personal life. I said, "Man, I'm so happy for you. So much is going right. Congratulations."
He wasn't excited. He was a little worried.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone. -- Bill Withers
The highway stretches out in front of me, a black ribbon winding into the future; a collapsing probability of possibility connecting me with the past and through it to the future.
Music streams from my radio, a carrier wave connecting me with myself in the futures I head toward. My twenty-five year old self hurtling home from a party, a jamming party.
One filled with beautiful honies, hot, sweaty, bodacious women of all shapes, sizes and colors; from an elegant ivory to a Nubian black, each smiling, tempting, thrilling me. Even me, an ordinary Brother, just happy to be invited.