A Little Happier:  Something Brilliant Came Out of My Mouth—Something I Didn’t Know I Knew

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you hear yourself saying something brilliant, or revealing a deep insight you didn’t even realize you possessed?

This happens to me all too rarely, but it did happen recently.

I was getting ready to go to my college reunion, so I was thinking back on my life during college and right after college. I remembered that I’d kept an issue of a ‘zine called Planet Girl that was created by some friends of mine, in San Francisco, decades ago. I pulled my copy down from the shelf. It’s labeled #2, and from the editor-in-chief’s note about why it took a year to publish this second issue, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that issue #3 was never produced.

I was looking at it when my daughter Eleanor knocked on the door to my office. I showed her my copy, which she found fascinating.

“Several of my friends were involved in putting this together,” I told her. “I see their names all over it. The photo on the cover is a picture of a friend, and my roommate wrote several of the articles.”

“Were you involved with it?” she asked. 

“No,” I answered. “In fact,” I said to Eleanor, “I vaguely knew they were working on it, but it never occurred to me to try to get involved.”

“Why not?” she asked.

“I thought they were just playing at making art. I didn’t realize then that playing at making art is the same thing as making art.”

That was my big insight. I didn’t realize it back then, in the past, and I didn’t know that I’d realized it now, in the present, but the minute I said it, I realized that I do know it now: Playing at making art is the same thing as making art. It might not be good art, of course. But that’s a different question.

I didn’t know I believed that, until I said it.




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