In the 1970’s there was a guy called Edward DeBono who used to teach thinking skills. He recommended that such skills be taught in schools. He realized that most people don’t know how to manage their own brains. The idea took off in the corporate world, and was particularly popular in Japan. But in general it didn’t really catch on here in the West.
I was reminded of this recently when I noticed the avid interest many people show in finding out about each other’s private lives, as if it matters. The first thing you learn as a writer is that we’re all fundamentally the same. This is why creating characters is possible. There is no shame you can share that has already been experienced to the point of being routine.
A brain is like a dog that needs a bone to chew on. Without something to chew on, the brain goes chewing on itself, or the neighbour’s “strange” activities, or some other handy “puzzle”. Then when it gets exhausted with its investigations it finds some way to knock itself out. This means that “normal” life, as we call it, is really a chaos of accidents brought about by people who haven’t learned how to manage their own heads. Like a stock car race for wild and untutored brains.