Thursday, February 24, 2005

The puzzle "groove"

One of the things that sometimes intrigues me as a puzzle constructor is how the creative process involved in creating puzzles is very much a product of not only who I am (background, interests, and tastes), but also whatever state I happen to be in. If I'm "in the groove", things go well; if I'm not, I might as well go watch TV, or trim my toenails, or whatever. I think one of the reasons things work this way for me is because for me, puzzle construction involves a type of focussed play. Sometimes my current state affects my ability to engage in this focussed play, in which case my ability to construct is also affected.

Today was a rather extreme example of this. I had my puzzle binder with me in my satchel on the bus, and I was able to construct quite happily and productively on both the half-hour bus trip to work and the trip back home. (You might laugh, but it's usually relatively quiet, and for the most part the trip lacks interruptions or distractions.) I had planned to work on something else construction-wise after supper - the crossword puzzle for my almost-monthly regular crossword gig - but the people I share my house with were tired and cranky (and one was not feeling well either) and there was a modest amount of tension in the air for a little while. I tend to pick up on other people's tension very easily, and tonight was no exception. Sure enough, I lost the relaxed state I had achieved earlier in the evening, and the evening was a washout from a constructing perspective, even though I had been constructing productively just an hour or two earlier.

Another side effect of this is that the more I'm in the puzzle-constructing groove, the more I tune other things out, and that includes people. Fortunately, my housemates are very good about this, but I do have to be careful about not ignoring other people (like my girlfriend).

-- Craig K.


Post a Comment

<< Home