Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Fun: Think Purple

Today, or this weekend, do something creative with purple. What? Well, you could:
  • Create a new drink with grape juice.
  • Draw something that would typically be brown or blue or green.
  • List as many different shades/names of purple as possible. (This makes your mind work. Good for the brain cells.)
  • Look for purple when you're out and about.
  • Take a purple photo.
Or, you could come up with your own purple plan! Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mary!

This gorgeous woman is 20 today. Yep. My sweet Mary is no longer a teenager. Fact is, she can now curse almost as well as I can. Sigh. It was truly yesterday that she looked like this:
Actually, she cursed at this age too.
Good story. I'll tell you some time.
My first attempt at writing this birthday post for Mary included the line: She's brilliant, beautiful and beloved. Then, I decided that was lovely, lame and lazy. I can do better. Let give you two quick examples why she is brilliant, beautiful and beloved:
  1. When an instructor at K-State told a class -- as part of a leadership/inclusion lesson -- that he was gay, he was immediately hounded by some of the students and subjected to small-minded, "We'll pray for your salvation," responses. Mary both befriended and defended this instructor. She stepped up and let him know he was not alone -- that many students support everyone's right to be who they are and love who they love. I know, for a fact, that she was a godsend to this young man at a critical time.
  2. I periodically get stressed to the max. There are times when I crack. It's not pretty. One time, not long ago, Mary sat down, looked me in the eye, and gave me a good "talking to," as my mother would say. She also wrote a note to remind me:
    Take time for yourself!
    Is it really something to get upset about?

    I keep the note on my desk. It helps. A lot.
Mary is good-hearted, funny, artistic, kind -- you get the picture. I'm very, very proud of her. Always have been. Always will be. Happy birthday, baby! (And, as you know, you will always be my baby.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Creativity Tips: Why we remember Dr. King's speech

I was eight years old when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech, and I can still remember it -- I still hear his voice in my head. Chances are, you do too. Heck, phrases probably resound with you, even if you weren't alive 50 years ago.

The question is: Why? Look at this program -- there were a host of great speakers that day.

Why do we remember Dr. King's speech? There are many reasons, from the political to the tragic. I encourage you to look here for the entire text, as we examine a few of the creative reasons why we remember. In his gorgeous speech, Dr. King:
  • Follows the "magic of three" rule when repeating key phrases: "One hundred years later ..." In a later paragraph, it's "Now is the time ..." a phrase he uses three times and then picks up again in the next paragraph, after a pause. Note that he also sets these phrases up: "There is no time to engage ...." sets up the "Now is the time" approach.
  • Shows rather than tells. He paints a picture: "...the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity."
  • Takes the universal and makes it personal. "I have a dream that my four little children ..."
  • Draws on the familiar. This crowd knew Biblical references. And Dr. King knew how to engage an audience with call and response.
  • Makes us think. Consider today's political rhetoric. Measure it against some of the words and phrases in this speech: "manacles of segregation," "the fierce urgency of now," "the whirlwinds of revolt." There are too many to list. Read the speech.
Dr. King's speech stands as testament to the power of words and the reality that brave, creative people change the world.

I generally keep my liberal politics out of the blog. However, I truly believe this isn't politics. It's a matter of what's simply, morally right: As a nation, as a people, we should share the dream. We should never be satisfied "until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fabulous Phrases: Talking in Bed

In keeping with yesterday's post, here's a gorgeous stanza from Philip Larkin's poem, Talking in Bed:

It becomes still more difficult to find
Words at once true and kind,
Or not untrue and not unkind.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Creativity Tips: Improve Upon the Silence

Every once in a while, I stumble across the following bit of wisdom. I've seen it attributed to Buddha and, oddly enough, Yogi Bear -- who was, indeed, smarter than the average bear.* Possibly smart enough to quote Buddha.

Regardless of the source, these are great questions to keep in mind as we go about life:

Is what I'm about to say kind?
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Does it improve upon the silence?

This week, let's be kind, honest and thoughtful. Let's improve upon the silence.

*My buddy Vanessa is way smarter than the average person. I think she's the first one who mentioned this quote to me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Fun: Jean Wender

"A Small Chaos"
by Jean Wender
Years ago, my dear friend Pat introduced me to a few of her favorite people. That was a lucky day for me and for you -- I've passed along Pat's favor via the CI blog.

For example, you've seen the amazingness that is The Big Rabbit. Look at those Missouri State Fair shots. My favorite, not surprisingly, is the big blue bunny. And, no, that is not a self-portrait of the artist. His feet are much bigger.*

Now, it's my great pleasure to point you toward the new website of Jean Wender, my favorite potter. Look at this gorgeousness. And this aberration. (Her word, not mine.) Then, read the beautiful Artist's Statement.

I can't think of anything more fitting for Friday Fun than enjoying art. Extend the fun! Go out there this weekend and see a new gallery. Listen to some live music. Take a walk without your phone. Enjoy! Happy weekend!

*Didn't I once have the reputation of being nice? Oh well ... the truth will out.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Creativity Tips: Take Another Look

So, it has been a month since I posted. During that time:
  • Mom fell, broke her arm and had surgery.
  • Mom was on Oxycodone for too long. Ugh.
  • The contractors started remodeling the master bathroom.
  • The contractors started remodeling the day after mom had surgery.
  • Mary went back to K-State.
  • Kate started getting ready for the move to her own apartment.
  • I had two clients come back with new assignments. One of the assignments was due in April. I got it last week. This is my life.
During the month, I didn't miss a single deadline. I did miss my blogging. Now, for what it's worth, I wasn't completely absent. Last week, I sat down and wrote:

The Theory of Infinite Creativity
I believe there is an infinite amount of creativity in our amazing world.

I know my share of that creativity, on any given day, is finite.

A few weeks ago, I was blogging daily again and loving it. I saw blog ideas everywhere I looked and couldn't wait to get to my keyboard and write them up.

Then, someone needed something and I was gone for another week. But it's a good start to a good post and I'll finish it at some point. Really! I will be back. I will be posting.

 In the meantime, look at this. And this. And then, throughout the week, take a long look at the people around you and realize they are so much more than what we see.

I hope more people really see you this week. I hope you pause long enough for eye contact. I hope it's a week that reflects well on all of us come Friday.

Happy Monday!