The "father of air conditioning," Willis Haviland Carrier, claims he had a flash of genius while waiting for a train. He began thinking about temperature and humidity, and within moments he had a scientific method to chill the air.
Back then, you couldn't distract yourself from thinking so easily.
I remember Carrier all day as I walk around in the kind of blazing heat that makes it hard to breathe. I thank God for what I take for granted: air conditioning, ice, refrigeration, cold water from a fountain. Some one began thinking and something wonderful happened:
I tell my students that invention is the hardest stage of writing. They simply can't come up with an idea. They can't begin creative acts--making something from nothing--because they don't know how to begin thinking.
Well. Let's just sit for a bit, as if we were waiting for a train on a foggy night with absolutely nothing to distract us. Let's just sit here and think.
It all began while a man waited for a train, thinking.
Journal: Do I schedule thinking time into my day?