The Monday Review: Introduction.
Updated: Feb 24
Morning mornings are for reflection, sweet tea and rest. For listening to Ballet of the Little Cafe; the melody of it lifting itself before the syrup-sky of candied cloud and soft light, and I cannot but think of how the week-days shuffle themselves like songs on a nano or a vinyl: uncontrolled, unordered ~ continuous.
I recently read an article on neuroplasticity, a term that refers to the brain's capability to change and adapt as a result of experience. Once, a long while ago in science, the brain was considered unchangeable, however, contemporary research concludes that the brain is capable of remarkable change.
It is like this: the human brain is composed of approximately eighty-six billion neutrons and possesses the capacity to reorganise neural pathways, create new connections and, in some cases, even create new neurones.
Age tends to solidify the neural pathways ~ the way we process information and engage with our experiences. But still, newness is stimulating; it requires conscious decision-making, complex problem-solving, memorisation, strategising and self-reflection. Without the right environment to enable change, the brain won't be able to focus on what is needed to create these new neurones. Instead, the brain remains in survival mode, choosing to travel along pathways it is already familiar with in order to mitigate risk.
I am not a scientist. Or a psychologist. The very ins-and-outs of the-human-within is as fascinating to me as it is unknown. But I will say, as a writer, this article has made me think about humanity as a whole. About how we belong to one another. About the way literature enables us to experience and interact with newness, and in turn, learn to process information in enlightened ways.
When it comes to our brains, network is established through these neural pathways; our thoughts and experiences and people and self. I wonder if you will say that perhaps I should research more until I understand this concept fully before I try to write a response to it, but I am not writing to teach. I want to grapple with all that I have read in hopes that, in interacting with uncertainty, the truth, or rather, the guessing-work of what I am discovering ~ uncovering ~ will strengthen my ability to engage with newness.
I think about interaction. Humanness is about a longing to belong. In learning to bond with those we do not know or understand ~ in learning to belong ~ I think we must choose to interact with the unfamiliar, forming connections in the awkwardness of embracing all that is new.
I promise ~ this I know as sure as I have felt community reach across two disparate continents: making a conscious decision to engage with the unknown is as worthwhile as it is lasting.
This post is a sort-of introduction-update on why I want to include you in my weekly literary reflections. Monday mornings give me a bit of time to share with you the works that I have read during the previous week, whether they be ugly, delicate things of prose and poetry or the compelling quiet of a story told and retold word-of-mouth.
These stories enable me - us - to interact with a wider world we might never have had the opportunity to do otherwise.
They are conversational and unchanging; they have changed me.