Monday, May 23, 2011

Creativity Tips: Play with a new toy

In honor of our youngest graduating from high school, Tom bought me an iPad2. He thought I deserved a present. Now that's solid creative thinking.

I may not use the iPad for writing much, but it's a great new "toy" with a lot of amazing options. For example, the Photo Booth app is dangerous in the hands of a writer. Knowledge leads to editing. I have no knowledge, so I can just play.

Self amuse. It's a good thing. And, in all seriousness, playing is good too. Start June with some new creative toys -- they can be as basic as new crayons and sharp pencils, a fresh journal or a new baking pan. Or, branch out. Try a different creative venue -- pottery, gardening, quilting, beading, carpentry, car repair. Play away!

P.S. Thanks for all the "empty nest" feedback on the previous post -- comments, emails and Facebook messages. I am feeling better. Of course, the iPad may have something to do with that ...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Creativity Exercise: Empty Nest

The girls. Two seconds ago. Or so it seems.
I woke up around 2 a.m. on Friday thinking, "I don't ever have to wake anyone up for school again."

And that, my friends, is what runs through a mother's mind at this time of year. Mary graduates from high school this weekend; in August, she and Kate will drive off to K-State together. I still think they should be on trikes. They both outgrew me years ago, but they're still my babies. Sigh ...

The phrase typically used to describe the next phase of life for me and Tom is "empty nest." Clearly, that's not going to work. I'm already having night terrors. I don't need negative words floating through my brain.

Your assignment? Help me out. Give me a better phrase -- something short and sweet and positive that I can substitute for "empty nest." I'd do it myself, but I'm running on empty at the moment -- all my creative energy has gone into party planning. (If you'd like to see Mary's graduation video, look here. Warning: it's 12 minutes long. I don't think that's why the video made some people cry, but it's possible.)

Anyway, you write a happy description for my new life. I'll post it -- here, on Twitter, on Facebook, on BlogHer. Zillions of parents will thank you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cheerio! Check Out this New Author Contest

I haven't been doing many promotional mentions on the CI blog lately, but this one seems worthwhile -- for three reasons:
  1. The contest offers you a chance to be published.
  2. The winning result -- a book included in boxes of Cheerios -- encourages children to read. Always a good thing.
  3. The PR pitch was on target, a rare and wonderful happening. That's right. Someone sent a blog re: creativity and writing a post idea re: creativity and writing. Go figure.  (I should also tell you I received a free copy of How Do You Hug a Porcupine? by Laurie Isop, the 2010 Grand Prize Winner. I read it. I liked it. And it's useful information: I have a few porcupines in my life.) 
So, here's the deal.Visit the Spoonfuls of Stories site. Check out the rules*. Enter by July 15, 2011. Win. Remember me fondly.

*I have a children's story I would enter, but I think my professional writer status rules me out. Such is the way of the world ...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Creativity Tips: A Lesson from Cirque du Soleil

The Kansas City Star this morning has a fun Q&A with Cirque du Soleil juggler/acrobat Vladik Myagkostupov (a great name that makes Sokoloff sound easy). At the end of the story, Vladik responds to the question, "And you juggle how many (balls) at one time?"

"In my act, seven.
But I actually do nine in training."

Isn't that fascinating? Vladik performs with tremendous confidence on stage because he absolutely knows he's not at his limit -- his live performance amazes the audience while carrying a greatly reduced risk of failure.

The question is: How can we apply that concept to our creative endeavors? And, if we do, will we be able to juggle all our daily responsibilities with a little less stress?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Power of Words

Knowing how I feel about the power of words, it's not surprising that a number of people have sent me the link to this video. Here's what I find fascinating. Based on Facebook and email reactions, many people think the video is "amazing," "so true," and "powerful." I think it's annoying. Why?

Because creativity is in the eye of the beholder and my eye has a completely different view of blindness. While I applaud the reminder that words change actions, I abhor the depiction of this blind beggar. I worked for a blind man for years. He's brilliant and successful. My guess is, he would be appalled by this video.

Macular degeneration has robbed my mother of most of her sight. She fights daily to remain as independent as possible.

So, for me, this video is a reminder that we see the world through our own unique lens. It's a challenge for communications at times, but it's a gift for creativity. Here's how I see it: If you do something and the people around you don't applaud, don't worry. Please your own eyes.

And if others beg to differ with you, enjoy the discussion.