One of the strongest creative influences in my life was Sophie Eisen, my grandmother. I've spoken about her a few times
on the CI blog, but there's so much more to say. Now, thanks to wonderful photographs from the amazing Leslie
, I am prepared to share! Over the next week or so, I'll bring you creativity tips from Nanny (that's what we called Sophie), beautifully illustrated by Leslie's photographs.
Let's start with this shot of Nanny holding me. I was 2. She was 58. (Feel free to post comments re: how adorable I am. Thank you.)
The first lesson? Your perspective shapes how you see the world. Creative growth recognizes and embraces changing perspectives. For example, 58 doesn't sound as old to me now as it did then. I can embrace that. However, when I look at Nanny at 58, I have a hard time reconciling that with me at 56.
We all see the world through our own (distorted? You tell me.) lenses. To boost creativity, change your perspective -- consciously and deliberately. Ask yourself: How would a child view this creative challenge? What would an accountant do with this? If you had to explain it to someone who didn't speak English, could you? How?
Changing perspectives opens your eyes to new possibilities. Don't believe me? Change your physical perspective and see how different the world looks.
Back to the photo -- look at that hold she has on me. Nanny was solid. She was strong. She had the best heart ever.
But I digress. The date on the photograph reminds me of another creativity lesson Nanny embodied: If you don't like reality, change it.
Nanny, who was born on Feb. 13, 1899, was very superstitious. VERY superstitious. So having a birthday on the 13th really didn't work for her. What to do? Simple. On every form and whenever asked, Nanny claimed that her birthday was Feb. 12, 1899.
Would that have been a problem had she needed a passport? Possibly. But she didn't need a passport. She needed a birthday that wasn't on unlucky 13. When Nanny didn't like something, she didn't complain, she didn't whine, she didn't sulk. She fixed it. Now there's a concept.
We were lucky to have Nanny for 77 years; she died of cancer in 1976 and I still miss her every single day. Truly. It's not that physical pain anymore, but it's constant. I don't care what they say: There are some deaths you really never "get over."
And why would we want to?