Book Brain. I heard an NPR discussion of a so-called syndrome that reportedly plagues writers everywhere. (Perhaps it happens when a brain becomes so occupied writing a book, that it’s simply too exhausted for everyday use) As I recall, writers often stop, mid-conversation, and can’t bring the proper common word to their tongues. Then they panic, and the word loss gets worse. Some smart person named the malady “Book Brain.”
Before I knew about “Book Brain,” I had already named it “Oversimplifying.” When at a word loss, every container I tried to name became a “bucket.” When I couldn’t bring “hopper” or “Crockpot” or “reservoir” or “shot glass” to my lips, I just sheepishly used the word “bucket,” and then made a lame joke about it. “Oh, and dinner is in the bucket next to the sink.”The day I reported my “Book Brain” discovery to our writers’ group, they emitted a collective sigh of relief, all of them having kept a secret from their family and friends, of their sudden onset of Alzheimer’s or senility or oversimplification. We shared hilarious stories of words that got away at inopportune moments—what name to call a sister-in-law, a mailbox or a pair of capris.
Apparently, “Book Brain” disappears when a writer sits down at a computer or a notebook. Somehow a writer’s brain magically bypasses the verbal part of the brain and translates into black-on-white the perfect word. Brain to paper, easy-peasy. Brain to tongue, not so much.
Frankly, I’m thankful for my, uh, er—what do you call it—Book Brain.