Fifteen Squared

It was interesting where the search for a quick blip led me in my mind today. I'd not noticed this graffiti before, on a wall near to the canal and very close to the office. I suspect it must be new and I'm intrigued as to its meaning. As soon as I saw it I had "fifteen squared" come straight into my head. That was the way my mind used to work. As a kid I was fascinated by prime numbers and, long before the advent of the home computer, and the calculator even, I used to work them out by hand. As a result, I got to know all the lower numbers pretty well, their prime factors often jumping out at me. Yes, I was quite a strange kid!

It wasn't so strange that I saw 225 immediately as (5x3)x(5x3), but in checking to ensure I was correct, I struggled to immediately work the other way and perform the multiplication. I used to be gifted at mental arithmetic but not any longer - at least not from a cold start. I imagine that I could warm my brain up to it and possibly perform better than I think I can. Nevertheless, I'm well aware that my brain does not work in the way it used to. It's not as agile when it comes to detailed problem solving, but I think that's somehow allowing more space to engage my creative side. That's my hope anyway - otherwise I'm doomed.

I've been dipping into a very favourite book of mine recently, which I'm sure I've mentioned here before. It's "The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll" by Alvaro Mutis. I came across a wonderful review in the New Yorker by John Updike and discovered in the process that the seven novellas which comprise this work were produced when the great man was in his sixties, in what Updike referred to as a "rush of deferred inspiration." They probably couldn't have been written without a lifetime of professional career experience behind him. It was an inspiration in itself to read that. I'm finding that I have a rich collection of experiences to draw upon when I'm writing. I'm enjoying the way that words are flowing at the moment, even if the opportunity each day is very limited, often just to my train journey to and from the office. Even so, it's amazing how rapidly my notebooks are filling up! 

I actually wrote my address inside the current one at the weekend, with a note to the finder to please return if found. I realised that my notebooks are just about the most precious things that I own at the moment. I really couldn't bear to lose one.

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