Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Fun: Move Over, Mario

It's time for the Mario boys to move aside ... get ready for the Super Chick Sisters. (Hey, yesterday we talked about rubber chickens. So a chicken game seemed like a natural.)

We'll be back to instigate more creativity on Tuesday -- here's to a long weekend!

P.S. Happy 15th Birthday to Mary, my baby chick!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Creativity Tips: Don't Be a Beak Performer

This is one of my favorite creativity cards -- and creativity props. Everyone loves a rubber chicken. What's it mean? Well, there are many interpretations, including this one ...

There’s one sure way to deliver peak performance: Just say “no” to beak performance.

Beak performance is a common and insidious ailment that kids on a farm understand and CEOs don’t. Here’s how it works. If you draw a line in the dirt, and you put a chicken’s beak to the line, the chicken will faithfully walk that line. Day in. Day out. He won’t lift his beak, he won’t look around, he won’t move off the line.

In business terms, the chicken accepts, “We’ve always done it that way.” In personal terms, the chicken believes, “There’s nothing I can do about that.” The longer you’re on a job, or with a person, the more likely you are to display the dreaded beak performance signs.

But here’s the good news: You’re not a chicken. So lift your head up and take a good look around. You’ll be amazed at what you see.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Site Seeing: Funny Politics

OK. How many of you really need the conventions to determine which man gets your vote?

Not me. But, before we tire of politics all together, take a look at a Kansas candidate who's putting the fun back in fundraising.

Thanks to Steve for the link!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Creativity Tips: Walk the Talk

Last year in her art class, my daughter Mary made this perky little penguin. Now, while I don't generally decorate with penguins -- perky or otherwise -- this one is displayed in a place of honor in our house.

Why? Because actions speak louder than words. Mary knows we're proud of her creative abilities, because she can see our pride -- and her penguin -- every day.

So, consider this question from your Jewish mother: When you receive a creative gift from a colleague or a kid, what do your actions say?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Creativity Tips: Letting Go

This creativity card features a close-up look at a painting my daughter Kate made for me several years ago. She went with a Georgia O'Keefe look, knowing I liked that style.

I like Kate's style.

On Saturday, Kate moved out of the house and into her dorm at K-State. She starts classes today. So, my baby is on her own. And that brings us to the creativity tip for the day: Life is letting go. Make sure the people you love know you love them. Today.

(How does that apply to creativity? Look at the picture. There's nothing more creatively instigating than love.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Fun: Happy Neurons

You know you're getting old when friends start sending links to "anti-aging" games -- designed to keep your brain from rusting.

I tried Split Words on a "difficult" level. I won't mention my score. You'll do better.

P.S. This is what it has come to. I will reveal my age. I won't reveal my game scores.

P.P. S. Thanks to Mo for the link. I think.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Creativity Tips: Work with the Best

I'm going to tell you a secret: The piece of pottery you see here really isn't as pretty as it looks.

I know this, because I made it. I can tell you where every flaw is -- from the dribbled glaze on the side you can't see, to the uneven width of the walls.

But you know what? Leslie Adams took this photo -- and she made my pot look beautiful.

And that brings us to the tip for the day: Work with the best, and you'll look better.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Creativity Exercise: Find Your Mantra in a Magazine

You're right. I didn't find Breathe in. Breathe out. in a magazine. But the other lines were there -- just waiting for me, thanks to the brilliance of copywriters I'll never know.

For today's exercise, flip through a magazine and find copy that means something special to you. It could be a headline, or a pullout quote. Or, it could be a photo. Doesn't matter -- there's no chance of being wrong. Cut it out and post it. Give yourself a smiley face!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creativity Tips: Sweat the Details

I know, I know. You're not supposed to sweat the small stuff. Too bad. Because the small stuff makes a big difference.

Take, for example, these details on one of the antique recipe boxes I collect. The details make this more than a utilitarian storage item. The details make this art.

In creativity -- as in much of life -- details matter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Creativity Tips: Ask for Help

Ask for help. It's that simple. Or, if you're used to being a solo creative genius, that challenging.

Here's what you need to remember:
  1. Never be afraid to ask for help.
  2. Ask people you trust, whether they're "authorities" or not. That's why you have a creative team.
  3. Don't wait until it's an emergency and the creative sirens are blaring!

P.S. For those of you joining this series in progress -- we're discussing the meaning behind the creativity cards I handed out in the first of many Creative Instigation presentations.

P.P.S. Thanks to popular demand (stop laughing, I'm serious, I don't make this stuff up), I have a waiting list for our next presentation. Let me know if you want me to add your name!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Fun: What's another word for ...

It has been a busy week, and I am tuckered out. I love that phrase, but haven't heard it much since my wonderful in-laws passed away, taking their beautiful Arkansas language with them.

How'd I think of it? I didn't. I plugged in exhausted at

For the Creative Instigation team members looking for the weekly game or goofy video: Remember. I'm a writer. This is my idea of fun.

And for those of you looking for the meanings behind the creativity cards, that series runs Monday - Thursday. We take our Friday Fun very seriously at this blog.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Creativity Tips: The Queen of Hearts

Do you know what this creativity card shows? It's a crown, fit for a queen.

Know what this creativity card means? Check it out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Creativity Tips: Now You See It ...

Thanks to everyone who attended the Creative Instigation presentation! As promised, today starts a series explaining the photos on my creativity cards*.

Do you know what this one is? To me, it's completely obvious. It's the antique inkwell I got when I was at MU. (And that would make it an antique now, even if it weren't then.)

What? You didn't see an inkwell? Are you kidding?

Hmmm. Interesting. It seems that I see the inkwell, because I know it's there. Most people didn't know what it was, or they guessed -- a crystal or a doorknob.

Everything you see is filtered by everything you know. So, take a minute and look for an outside opinion. Don't assume that everyone else knows what you know, or sees what you see.

*A big THANK YOU to Leslie Adams, who sees the shots I never see. Leslie took all the photos and designed the cards.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Creativity Tips: Let Someone Else Lead

I recently had a surreal experience that turned out to be an eye-opener. I walked into a radio studio for an interview -- and realized I wasn't the one doing the interview. Mike Brown and I were the interviewees, and Jay Liebenguth was the host.

Panic set in. I spent almost a dozen years being the interviewer. Being on the other side of the desk felt very, very wrong.

Fortunately, once I got past the whole "I am not in charge" crisis, it was great. Jay is a true talent, and the show was flat-out fun.

This week, give it a try. Let someone else lead.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Creativity Tips: Take Care of Yourself

I'm going to play Jewish mother for a minute.

Are you taking care of yourself? Eating right? Exercising? Getting plenty of sleep? Giving yourself time off now and then, to simply be?

It's easier to be a creative genius when you feel great. And, if you need another reason, you'll have more to give to others, when you are healthy, whole and happy.

OK. Mom is done. Now, go eat nuts. According to The Culprit and the Cure, people who eat nuts five times a week live an extra 2.5 years.

P.S. to Eva, my nuts-allergic sister: Don't eat the nuts. And I apologize for slipping that peanut butter into your bologna sandwich. Hey, I was 5. Let it go. :-)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Fun: Born to be Wild

Here's one for the boomers. Make sure your speakers are on.

Thanks to Tom for sending this to me -- and to Barbara in California, for sending it to him!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Excuses ... I've got excuses ...

I've been sick.
The dog ate my blog.
It was a computer problem.

Or, if you want the truth, I wrote an entry to appear at 4:22 a.m., but I forgot to "publish" it in Blogger. So, at 4:22 a.m., nothing posted.

And yet, the world went on ...

Cory: I love your words on yesterday's post!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Creative Inspiration: Mud-luscious

You know e.e. cummings was a poet. He was also an inventor -- he invented words, fearlessly and famously. One of my favorite examples is his description of "Just-spring when the world is mud-luscious"

What a delectable word. "mud-luscious."

How would you describe summer?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Creativity Tips: Keep It Real

Regular members of the Creative Instigation team know that my mother was the queen of Unconditional Positive Regard while I was growing up.

So you'll understand why I laughed at her response, when I mentioned that Mike Brown and I will be doing a PRSA presentation on creativity next week:

"People have to pay to listen to you?"

Yep. And worth every penny, Mom. If you're in KC and haven't registered yet, sign up today!

P.S. Always good to have someone on your creativity team who will keep that ego in check.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Creativity Exercise: The Last Time ...

It's been a while since I asked you to take out a clean sheet of paper.

So ...

Take out a clean sheet of paper. Write "The last time I saw you" at the top.

Now, finish the sentence. Then, write five more sentences. You can make this a poem for a parent, a note to an old friend, a prayer for your first love. Whatever you want.

When you're done, burn it. Or mail it. You're creative -- you'll know which way to go!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Fun with Fonts

It's possible that I spend too much time working in Word.

Thanks to Barb and Melissa for the link!