Monday, September 29, 2008

Creativity Tips: Practice What You Preach

I'm on vacation this week, and you're in luck. Before I left the laptop and the cell* phone behind, I decided to practice what I preach, and asked for help.

And my buds came through.

Fabulous members of the Creative Instigation team will post comments on this blog entry throughout the week. They'll bring you creativity tips, rants, inspiration, insights, political jokes, sites to see, exercises, whatever.

It should be a creative kick in the pants for all of us. New perspectives, new approaches. And remember, you made the team. Now's the time to make your mark. Leave your own comments!

I can't wait to read what you write when I get back!

P.S. I got the idea from Leslie, who suggested I watch this. And, then followed it up with this. It's amazing what loveliness people -- even strangers -- can create together.

* Is it a coincidence that phones and prisons share this word? I think not.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fun: Bullwinkle

Friday Fun may focus on politics for a bit,
because it's laugh or cry ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Creative Inspiration: Windows is Shutting Down

It's been a while since I pointed you toward The Writer's Almanac, always a good way for me to start the morning. And, Windows is Shutting Down addresses a topic near and dear to my heart.

After you read the poem, scroll down to the bottom. If the almanac's version of the quote is accurate, Nathan Hale wasn't regretting that he had only one life to give for his country. Words. Each one matters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Creativity Tips: Let It Go

The amazing Kristie, master hair designer, introduced me to this saying.

It's a good reminder for all of us. Even for the bald members of the Creative Instigation team.*

*You know who you are.

** The Internet is astonishing. I Googled the saying, and found 80 gazillion entries. And this magnet -- available at Lolly Lu, where they believe everyone should own a piece of art.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Creative Query: Vitamin P

We haven't done a Creative Query for a bit,
so answer this one for me:

What's your personal Prozac?

P.S. Thanks to Mike L. for the idea!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Creativity Tips: Will Write for Food

Back to the creativity card series! If you received this card at the Creative Instigation session, congratulations! This is my favorite business card. It reminds me to remind you that I am a hired pen. *

*That's a stolen phrase. I don't even like it. But I'm writing this late at night and I'm too tired to come up with something else. Leading us to the creativity tip for the day: Don't drink and blog.

P.S. No, I haven't been drinking. I'm just tired and babbling. And, while I'm babbling:

P.P.S. I just watched the Emmy awards. Skinny old women shouldn't wear sleeveless gowns. And Candice Bergen's fashion consultant should be shot. And Betty White rocks.

P. P.P.S. Yes, I'm done now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Fun: Sarah Palin

This week, it's an easy choice. If you missed the Saturday Night Live skit, take a look.

I'm voting for Tina Fey.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Creativity Tips: To Move Forward, Back Up

Are you stuck in a creative rut? Here's a quick tip to get you moving. Use a different technology. If you write on a computer, pick up a pen. Or, if you still have a functioning typewriter, use it!

If you paint, drop the brush. Fingerpaint. Or, find a drawing program online. If you're dealing with numbers, step away from the calculator. Grab a pencil, and get to work. You can always check the results with the calculator later.

Back space to the future.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Creativity Tips: Get Off Track

OK, one more MU story -- and I'll get back to creativity cards.

I got off track at the centennial. I didn't attend many broadcasting sessions -- even though that was my "track" at school. Instead, I went to seminars on things like the African-American experience at the Journalism School, and finding and reporting on a life of meaning.

Here's a great sentence/idea from the "life of meaning" session, which was held on Sept. 11 -- and I hope you can appreciate the concept, regardless of your personal beliefs:

When faced with great tragedy, people often ask, "God, how could you let this happen?" Perhaps God is asking the same thing: "How could you let this happen?"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Site Seeing: Pictures of the Year International

One of the benefits of attending the J-School's centennial celebration was seeing incredible photographs from the Pictures of the Year International collection.

And, while a picture is worth a thousand words, it's the photo and story together that had me in tears as I looked at Leia's Daddy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Creativity Exercise: Go Home Again

Here's a perfect way to start the week -- with a digression, and an exercise.

As I walked around the University of Missouri School of Journalism last week, I felt right at home. Again. As always. It's the same feeling I get on the rare occasions when I'm out in the wilderness, hiking. I'm home.

Where are you when you feel most like yourself? Where are you at home?

P.S. Speaking of digressions, I will get back to the creativity cards series, but I have a few MU posts for this week ... change is good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fun: Presidential Paintball

I am at the University of Missouri-Columbia today, celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Journalism School. High school reunions leave me cold, but college ... that was fun. And 100 years is something to celebrate!

As I gather with my fellow J-School alums, I'm guessing politics may be discussed. I'll be taking my best shots at candidates I don't like -- thought I'd give you the same chance. Enjoy!

P.S. No, smart stuff. I wasn't in the class of 1908. I'm old, but I'm not that old ...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Creativity Tips: See the Box

So, you've been told to "think outside the box." Let's be serious: There are times you are limited by the box -- whether the box is money, time or people. There are also times when the box is a wonderful thing, giving you structure to guide your path.

This creativity card reminds us of a real recipe for creative success: See the box. Don't do what you've always done. But don't go creatively nutso for no reason. Analyze the situation strategically, then decide where to think.

(This reminds me of drawing outside the lines. I had a fit when my firstborn, Kate, started drawing inside the lines in her coloring books. I was sure her creativity was gone forever. My wonderful friend Nancy, an artist, stopped the insanity by reminding me that we have to know how to draw inside the lines, so we can choose to draw outside.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Creative Inspiration: How to Live

I love this poem: "How to Live" by Charles Harper Webb, from Amplified Dog.
© Red Hen Press.

How to Live

"I don't know how to live."
–Sharon Olds

Eat lots of steak and salmon and Thai curry and mu shu
pork and fresh green beans and baked potatoes
and fresh strawberries with vanilla ice cream.
Kick-box three days a week. Stay strong and lean.
Go fly-fishing every chance you get, with friends

who'll teach you secrets of the stream. Play guitar
in a rock band. Read Dostoyevsky, Whitman, Kafka,
Shakespeare, Twain. Collect Uncle Scrooge comics.
See Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, and everything Monty Python made.
Love freely. Treat ex-partners as kindly

as you can. Wish them as well as you're able.
Snorkel with moray eels and yellow tangs. Watch
spinner dolphins earn their name as your panga slam-
bams over glittering seas. Try not to lie; it sours
the soul. But being a patsy sours it too. If you cause

a car wreck, and aren't hurt, but someone is, apologize
silently. Learn from your mistake. Walk gratefully
away. Let your insurance handle it. Never drive drunk.
Don't be a drunk, or any kind of "aholic." It's bad
English, and bad news. Don't berate yourself. If you lose

a game or prize you've earned, remember the winners
history forgets. Remember them if you do win. Enjoy
success. Have kids if you want and can afford them,
but don't make them your reason-to-be. Spare them that
misery. Take them to the beach. Mail order sea

monkeys once in your life. Give someone the full-on
ass-kicking he (or she) has earned. Keep a box turtle
in good heath for twenty years. If you get sick, don't thrive
on suffering. There's nothing noble about pain. Die
if you need to, the best way you can. (You define best.)

Go to church if it helps you. Grow tomatoes to put store-
bought in perspective. Listen to Elvis and Bach. Unless
you're tone deaf, own Perlman's "Meditation from Thais."
Don't look for hidden meanings in a cardinal's song.
Don't think TV characters talk to you; that's crazy.

Don't be too sane. Work hard. Loaf easily. Have good
friends, and be good to them. Be immoderate
in moderation. Spend little time anesthetized. Dive
the Great Barrier Reef. Don't touch the coral. Watch
for sea snakes. Smile for the camera. Don't say "Cheese."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Creativity Tips: End Grouchy with Groucho

Here's a fun way to start the week. Wear your pair of Groucho glasses.

What do you mean, you don't have a pair of Groucho glasses? How is that even possible?

As we move through our creativity card series, the Groucho card is very important. It started out meaning: Take a new look -- at people and projects. But every time I pull out the glasses and have someone put them on, everyone laughs.

Everyone laughs. Now, there's a mood for creative instigation -- everyone engaged, everyone happy.

Buy the glasses.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Fun: Truth in Advertising

This video is 12 minutes long, it's completely R-rated, and it's hysterically true.

Welcome to one aspect of my world. (Thanks, Barb, for the link and the laugh!)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Creativity Tips: Do Something New

As we continue exploring the meaning behind the creativity cards I handed out at the Creative Instigation presentation, let's look at one of my favorites: Coco, the sock monkey.

I write. I bake. I don't often make sock monkeys. But, there were people I love who really, really needed a sock monkey. (You know who you are.) So, I found a pattern, and voila! Adorable sock monkeys to give away -- and one to keep.

When you get in a creative rut, try something totally different. Monkey around.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Site Seeing: Boom-De-Yada

If you watch the Discovery channel, you've seen this. If you don't, you should. Both, I mean. Watch Discovery. And see this.

Thanks to Greg for the idea!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Creativity Tips: Be Generous with Applause

Start the week off right. Give yourself a hand! And, while you're at it, applaud the person next to you and the person next to that person.

What are you applauding? You tell me. I'll tell you this: If you look for something to appreciate and celebrate, you'll find it.