Monday, November 16, 2009

Living the AD/HD Hunter Analogy - or How Castle Distracted Me

Ah, do you smell it? The scent of The Hunt? Do you hear the crisp, cool clacking of the keyboard, and feel the eyes darting over the glowing screen seeking out clues… Nothing thrills my AD/HD mind more than the solving a puzzle in The Hunt.

As an art geek of sorts, I love pen & ink. I write notes with an old school fountain pen. I prefer the skritch of metallic nib on paper over the tactile-less glide of stylus over pad. Maybe one day soon I'll take my art gear and go out and actually draw something again.

When I came across the Dux Variable Precision Sharpener and successfully hunted it down, I set off a chain reaction throughout October which found me seeing things in a movie or show and hunting it down. Do you ever find yourself suddenly doing something over and over again? AD/HD can affect me that way sometimes. It's not obsessive compulsive; It's thrilling. I love the hunt.

For instance, during the CastleHalloween episode I saw the remnants of an ink bottle for a split second. My curiosity was instantly piqued. I simply had to track it down:

First, I took a screen grab of the episode, and rotated then cropped it:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Then I did a keyword search and quickly tracked it down in Google. After a few clicks and an image search I had found my bottle of ink:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic.

The art department had blacked out "Non-Shellac" for the prop's closeup. That way "India Black" was the main focus with "Fountain Pen Ink" as an almost subliminal support. End result? Quickly scanned authenticity. Think of how distracting "Non-Shellac" would have been in the moment your eyes scanned the frame. In the end, however, the ink used was a Chinese no-name brand. I was much better off with my Noodler's ink…

The blacking out of "Non-Shellac" may have had a point to it, but did my hunt?

Sometimes these AD/HD bursts of cerebral activity amount to colossal wastes of time. I used to chastise myself quite severely for becoming distracted. However, I spent only a ten or fifteen minutes on this exercise. After years of The Hunt, I have become quite good at it. I have also learned to keep the search limited to one item and to know when to stop. In this way my life is often enriched by the serendipitous discovery of new things. I discover new musicians, artists, books, movies, and shows this way. Friends and family will stare at me in incredulous amazement and wonder how I find so many obscure things.

This is how: I go on The Hunt.

I allow myself fun distractions from time to time because that is how my mind is wired. I can no more stop myself from being bored and leaping out for stimulation than I can climb my own thumb. The trick is in teaching yourself how to get back on task. Once I captured my prey and trotted back happily to the present, I was able to get on with writing that evening. This is because I allowed myself to be satisfied with the find and quickly reminded myself I had other things to do before I began searching for something else, like Castle's Writer vest or Becket's gun model.

Do you ever find yourself out on The Hunt? What types of things do you search for, and how do you get yourself to leave the dogs in the kennel, come back inside, and get something done?

Douglas sig