Mackey says she experienced an altered state of mind since childhood because of abnormally high (and life threatening) fevers. However, Mackey was curious about the culture Schultes studied in the Amazon and traveled and lived there to experience that environment firsthand. Uninterested in the surrealism (being in touch with the unconscious mind) of contemporaries like André Breton, Stein relied on a disciplined schedule of writing which she did late at night when everyone else slept. Mackey describes how she developed her process of "extreme focus" to move from an ordinary object like an ashtray to her creative landscape. This method of concentration is what she says taught her to re-learn metaphor, something she could do at eleven years old. The point is that children have a natural ability to see things creatively until they lose touch with their inner child by what adults teach them.