I am really quite fond of my brain. Don’t get me wrong, it drew some frankly unhelpful conclusions early on in my life, but otherwise it’s fairly sound, and has looked after me through a lot of experiences that could easily have broken me. It has the ability to empathise with other people, and be nice to them. It’s also reasonably quick, and it likes to take on new information and Work Stuff Out.
I also like my brain because it’s a bit fucking weird sometimes.
It has always seemed to work against the tide of what’s happening around me. Often, it will be presented with the same information as other people get, but will run off in a different direction, ending out miles away from where it’s supposed to be.
It tends to take normal and unrelated ideas, and then mash them together, producing weird hybrid offspring thoughts – which more often than not I think are clever and hilarious, contrary to the raised eyebrows and blank faces around me.
Quite frequently, it will look at day-to-day stuff and see something ridiculous, other than what is supposed to be there; I am that annoying person who will laugh like an idiot and then say “Oh, it doesn’t matter…” when you ask why, because annoying you is less awkward than the sympathetic expression on your face when I try to explain.
My brain is in no way unique. It isn’t special in the way it works, but it is unusual enough that when I find another person whose brain does the same thing, I feel a joy and sense of connection that often changes the way I feel about life.
The first time I experienced that joy was reading a Terry Pratchett book. It was called Moving Pictures.
His brain was like my brain, but squared. His brain did weird conclusions, random thought leaps, and sharpness exponentially better than mine, and then wrapped it all up in a ribbon of good humour, genuine insight, irreverence and eloquence, topped with a bow made of warmth.
When I was a young person, lost in a sea of faces, places and events that I just didn’t recognise or feel part of, Terry Pratchett was a beacon. He was an open window in the darkness. He welcomed me in and showed me what it was like to feel at home, like I belonged somewhere.
Thank you, Terry.
Thank you for unwittingly being there when I needed someone. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. Thank you for always sharing yourself. This place isn’t as good without you in it.