Collecting thoughts

My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.

This quotation is from The Fault in Our Stars, a novel by John Green. I just read it last week for the second time, and this time through, that statement stuck out to me. Honestly, it’s a pretty good description of the way I feel right about now (although not for the same reasons). I have so much going on and so many papers that I should be working on simultaneously, it’s like each thought is a pool ball ricocheting around inside my head, unable to find a pocket.

My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.

I don’t like having a head full of chaotic wispy clouds. I want sense. I want order. It’s human nature to want to impose order on things that seem random; that’s why we have constellations in the first place. Humans don’t like looking at the sky and seeing a random scattering of dots: we want order. We want story.

Although the names of the constellations don’t mean much now to most of us, to the people that originally named them, the stars were full of stories. One part of the sky contained a queen banished for her pride, while another held a mighty hunter, immortalized in the heavens. The stories contained in the stars were the unifying principle that helped people make sense of the sky.

Narrative–story–continues to act as a unifying principle for people, helping us to make sense of the events of our lives. We want to see connections. We want to see cause and effect. I know that for me, at least, believing I can see a narrative arc in my life makes me feel more at peace.

So what do you do when you can’t fit your thoughts into a coherent narrative? What do you do with facts that bounce around and refuse to fit into an orderly whole? I tend to write in a journal or freewrite, but I’m sure there are other ways to try to find meaning and order in confusion.

How about you? Does writing help you to find order in your life?

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3 thoughts on “Collecting thoughts

  1. Writing definitely helps me make some sense of order out of my life and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without it. Writing is a form of escapism for me but also allows me to make sense out of things that seem fairly illogical to my conscious mind. It is only when I disengage from my conscious mind that I can work things through both logically and emotionally.

    • I can definitely identify with your comment! For me, writing allows my subconscious to prove it’s wiser than I know. Most of the time my conscious mind thinks too loudly and holds onto thoughts too tightly to let me work things through, but writing helps me to let go 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • I think we all need to let our conscious mind take a back seat every now and then, writing has always been a way for me to do that and is something that I often do unconsciously. It is only then that my mind seems to work through complex and emotional issues.

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