Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Meanwhile, a bit of inspiration from poet Joseph Enzweiler:
"Christmas 1963" by Joseph Enzweiler
From The Man Who Ordered Perch. © Iris Press, 2004.
Because we wanted much that year
and had little. Because the winter phone
for days stayed silent that would call
our father back to work, and he
kept silent too with our mother,
fearfully proud before us.
Because I was young that morning
in gray light untouched on the rug
and our gifts were so few, propped
along the furniture, for a second
my heart fell, then saw how large
they made the spaces between them
to take the place of less. Because
the curtained sun rose brightly
on our discarded paper and the things
themselves, these forty years,
have grown too small to see, the emptiness
measured out remains the gift,
fills the whole room now, that whole year
out across the snowy lawn. Because
a drop of shame burned quietly
in the province of love. Because
we had little that year
and were given much.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
When we arrived at the arena, the ticket taker told us we needed to go to another line and "be reassigned." Mary and I both wondered what was wrong.
There was no need for our angst. The show simply hadn't sold out, and Sprint Center officials had the good sense to move people closer to the stage. Our seats were upgraded, with smiles.
Lesson 1: Creative people often take, "We need to make a change" as a bad thing. Change can be wonderful -- moving you closer to where you want to be.
As the show was ending, one of the Rockettes fell in the final kick line. I know, because Mary -- who's a high school drill team dancer -- noticed. I was watching the show, but looking somewhere else.
Lesson 2: When you fall, remember: Most of us are looking somewhere else. Follow the Rockette's lead -- don't pull anyone else down with you, get back up, and keep on kicking!
P.S. Falling can be fun.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Mary and I went to see the Rockettes on Saturday, and the show was wonderful. And, as an added bonus ... the performance gave me ideas for two posts. We'll start today with Lessons from the Rockettes:
1. It's not how high you kick. What really sparkles is the ability to all kick together.
2. Support each other, but don't lean on anyone too much.
3. Forget mom's advice. Make a spectacle of yourself. How else are you going to be spectacular?
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Composing the letter reminds you of the person's good traits. It's a matter of creative focus: Look for what's wrong, and you'll find it. Look for the good, and it's there too.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today, it's your turn to turn that trend around. Write a holiday card with a message -- funny, sarcastic, happy, sardonic, reverent, whatever you want. Your client? Creative Instigation -- and you've got this great photo from Leslie* on the cover.
Now, you tell me: What's on the inside?
*After you write the card, take a look at Leslie's photostream on flickr.
Monday, December 15, 2008
OK, that's harsh. I recycled before recycling was cool. But gifts need to be wrapped. And I'm not going to budge on this one.
That said, Chris does have the right idea. So, let's go with it: What are some creative, environmentally friendly wrapping ideas for the holiday season? Go beyond my basics -- wrapping with the comics, using grocery bags, etc. Give us some festive new concepts, and make Santa -- and Chris -- happy men.
(And after you come up with your own ideas, look here. No peeking.)
Friday, December 12, 2008
- You're brilliant, and that's a great way to stay instigated! (The rest of you can be equally brilliant -- just click on the "Subscribe to Creative Instigation by email" link.
- I'm not always brilliant, and hit some key that published a post I was writing for Dec. 24.
- When you see the post later this month, hopefully I'll have fixed the spacing in the poem ...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
No, not to me. Well, yes, listen to me. But, far more importantly, listen to the people around you. Here are two wonderful phrases I heard in the past week:
- Garlicky guacamole goodness -- from Rachael Ray. She's perky, but well-spoken.
- Lifelong lousy love life -- from a funny friend who shall remain anonymous.
And here's a quick creativity exercise: Using one of those two phrases, write for 120 seconds. You got it: 2 minutes. Don't tell me you don't have time. And don't self-censor. Just write!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Some 30 years ago, before she became my mother-in-law, Betty Harness thought I was going to do something wrong. Flat-out wrong. And she wasn't going to let that silently go by.
Here's what she did -- and we can all use this approach:
- She made sure we were alone for the conversation.
- She assured me it wasn't me she disapproved of -- it was my decision she didn't like.
- She told me it was important that I understood how she felt, and that she'd never mention it again.
- She never mentioned it again.
Betty Harness would have been 95 today. As the saying goes, "In love we are remembered, and in memories we live."
Monday, December 8, 2008
Here's the deal: Doesn't matter. That was last week. This is a new week. Start off with a grin, and a happy Monday attitude. (No, that's not a contradiction in terms.)
And, if it helps any, start off with the assurance that I have a serious feeling that this is going to be an excellent week!
Friday, December 5, 2008
But, now and then, it's good to sit back, relax and learn. This weekend, check out the TED video on creativity with Tim Brown, the CEO of Ideo. (The CEO of Ideo. Now, there's a title with a ring to it.)
If you're not in the mood for the video, use the link as a jumping off point, and explore TED. Lots of fascinating clips. Enjoy!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Isn't that a wonderful idea? Be ready to give. Whether it's a dollar to charity, a kind word to a co-worker, or a smile to a stranger.
You may give more than you realize.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I was reminded of that story when the Strong National Museum of Play® recently inducted the stick into the National Toy Hall of Fame®.
"It's very open-ended, all-natural, the perfect price -- there aren't any rules or instructions for its use," said Christopher Bensch, the museum's curator of collections. "It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight's sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band."
Imagine that: No rules. No instructions. Now there's a creative approach worth trying -- at work and at home. No rules. No instructions. Just go!
Monday, December 1, 2008
But that's no reason for you to miss out on this great holiday idea. As StoryCorps suggests:
This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.
Not a natural interviewer? No problem. StoryCorps has a Do-It-Yourself Guide to download. And if you're just looking to break the ice at a holiday party, check out this list of questions! (For example, "How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?")