Tag Archives: creativity
Video

Daydreaming: A Key to Creativity

13 Sep

I came across this video while searching for a certain music video for a past post. It got me to thinking. I would like you to watch it, then we can discuss it.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLebgmPloJ4

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So basically what Jonah Lehrer is saying is that the mind comes up with creative things better and faster when we let it do a little wandering. There is a need for daydreaming, following that trail of what-ifs, just staring out the window watching the birds on the feeder.

If this is the case, what are some ways we can relax our brains so they can bring up our more imaginative ideas?

Jonah mentions taking walks, daydreaming, and staring out train windows. Are there other ways we can let our minds wander?

  • How about that lovely zen-ed out couple minutes while you wash your hair. (although for me it’s more than a couple minutes, since my hair is waist length.)
  • Listening to the rain.
  • Relaxing to your favorite music.
  • Those few moments when you are on the edge of sleep.
  • Thinking of nothing in particular while sitting in your recliner.
  • Just staring across the room at a random object.

This last one helped me write a piece of flash fiction (a story that’s, I believe, under 2,000 words long). I was trying to come up with an idea, but nothing was happening. I set my chin into my hand and stared across the room at a pile of random papers. Peeking out from the pile was part of a stage coach, that got me thinking about the wild west. Well, what is one of the best known stage coaches in modern advertising? TheWells Fargo’s logo. Now I am thinking of a bank in the old west. From there I thought about a steam punk outfit my husband and I had discussed making for me. Now I’m thinking of a woman, in a Victorian steam punk outfit in a bank in the old west. Now what could bring about some kind of problem in a bank. Duh, a gun. How would we introduce a gun into the situation?

Well, why don’t you read it for yourself?

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A Misunderstanding at the Bank

She walked into the one and only bank in all of New Wells, Colorado, head held high, shoulders back. Walking like a woman in a new dress, which she was. A high necked number in burgundy, with a black leather waist coat, and black and white patent leather ankle boots. In her right hand she held a brown valise. It seemed to be a little heavy for her comfort, but she was darned if she was going to let it show on her face.

The lady in the new dress walked expediently up to the teller on the left, and set her bag on the counter to the right of the clerk’s window. The clerk, a skittish man in his mid thirties, was always afraid when a woman approached his window. They were either confused as to what they wanted, or had a tendency to try and bluster or wheedle more out of him than he should extend. Either way, women made him nervous.

This one really made him sweat. She seemed to have been sewn into that red dress, and her manor of walking told him that here was a woman who was used to being in control of situations. Since he was rarely in control, this type of person made him feel twitchy.

“Hello, Mister…” She glanced at the little pin on his shirt, “Popskie. My name is Miss Delia Anne Walters, and I would like to open an account here today.”

Taking his kerchief out of his pocket and swiping it over his upper lip, he replied, “Very well, Miss Walters. How much would you be putting into your new account?”

With a satisfied smile, she opened her valise, and began digging through its contents. “I have $300.” After a few moments the smile started to fade into mild frustration. “It was on top a few minutes ago.” Now the innards of the bag were being pulled out and placed in a neat line along her side of the counter. A bottle of perfume, smelling salts, a compact, a paper bag which smelled of peppermint, and there were a few more things, but Mr. Popskie’s vision narrowed to include only one of her items. A brand new, fully charged lightning pistol.

While she was busy grumbling into the seemingly bottomless pit that was her bag, he quietly reached a hand beneath his register and pressed the alarm. Without taking his eyes off her gun, he reached into his vest pocket and retrieved his kerchief.

Miss Walters, on the other hand, finally got hold of her envelope of crisp new twenty dollar bills. Pulling her head and right arm out of her bag, she waved it in front of herself triumphantly. “Ha ha! It thought it could hide!”

Turning her attention now to putting her varied objects back into her bag. She did not see the sheriff and two of his deputies walk quietly in the front door. She thought everything was going to go smoothly, until she picked up her little pistol and was about to put it back in with its travel mates. That’s when the Sheriff said, “Stop right there, Miss.”

Looking around in confusion, she turned to see two powder rifles, and a large lightning pistol aimed straight at her own self.

“Lower your weapon, and step away from Popskie.”

“Lower my…?”

“Put your weapon down, Miss, and no one will get hurt.”

“I was just…”

“Well now you are going to drop it on the floor, and kick it to me.”

“Why on Earth would I drop this perfectly good, brand new pistol on the floor? Don’t you know that’s a terrible thing to do to a gun? Not to mention that it might go off.” Shaking her head, she turned back around and dropped it back into her bag. Swiping her envelope of cash off the counter, she also put that into her bag. Closing it with a snap and a huff, she pulled it off the little ledge, and marched straight for the door.

“Of all the hair-brained things.” Giving the door a shove, she walked straight through, and headed for the train station.

Mr. Popskie sighed and sagged against his desk. With shaking hands he wiped the beads of sweat off his face. “Thank you, Sheri…” Catching the look in the Sheriff’s eyes he didn’t have the nerve to finish.

“Popskie, did she SAY she was going to rob the bank?”

Giving his head a shake, he replied, “N, no.”

“Did she hand you a note that implied such an intention?”

Again, shaking his head, Mr. Popskie had to answer no.

“Then why did you press the alarm?”

Pointing to the counter before the Sheriff, he said, “She, she…”

“Had a gun.” The Sheriff shook his head. Rubbing a sudden pain above his left eye, he said in exasperated accents, “Mr. Popskie, this is Colorado. It is quite possible that YOU are the only person in this entire state who does not own a gun of one kind or another. And would you two quit snickering back there?! For the love of…Mr. Popskie, I really think you ought to move back east.”

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What are some ways you zone out to find creative inspiration?

And, if it’s not too much to ask, what did you think of my little story?

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Release Your Imaginative Inner Child

1 Jun
It may look like an old flatbed trailer, but to a child's imagination it could be anything.

It may look like an old flatbed trailer, but to a child’s imagination it could be anything.

When I was young we stayed with some family for a year. It was an interesting time in my childhood.

You see, my great-grandfather (on my mother’s side) had been a farmer. So on that piece of property were all kinds of old junked out equipment for us to turn into cool toys.

There was a huge piece of galvanize steel pipe. Tall enough that we could walk through, and just long enough to shelter the four of us when it rained. Because heaven forbid we should go inside for something as piddly as a spring shower.

There were old abandoned kitchen chairs which could be fixed up just enough for us to use in our little hide-out on a tiny island in the center of the small swamp. We were all light enough at the time that we could walk along carefully flattened trails of grass and cattail reeds. Anyone weighing more than about 90 pounds would have sunk nearly to their knees in insidiously sticky swamp water.

One of the more versatile ‘toys’ was a large, wooden flat bed off an old trailer. Long gone were the tires, and the frame sat pathetically on the ground, but to us it had limitless potential.

This old trailer became anything we imagined, and because it was old and friendly it did it happily. Through an average week it was the bridge of a pirate ship and a star ship, the stage for a sappy opera, a raft adrift in storm tossed waters, and a hospital ward.

We got good use out of that old thing. And if I’m not adding too much anthropomorphic flare on it, I do believe that old trailer enjoyed being a part of our play.

Today I am boggled by the average child’s lack of imagination. Where is the old game of “The floor is Lava!!!”? Do they even play cartoon freeze tag anymore? Are they even allowed to play pirate anymore? I’m pretty sure Cowboys and Indians has been ruled Politically Incorrect.

What will our future books and movies consist of? How would our young fare if a sun flare knocked out their game consoles?

Enough with that rabbit trail. My main point is…

Writers need an active imagination. So it is important to exercise it on a regular basis. No, I am not suggesting you get up a game of tag with local eight year olds. (they would likely label you as something which could get you in a lot of hot water)

I am suggesting that you find animals in clouds. Think through strange What If situations. Read as often as your busy adult schedule will allow. Anything that gets your mind thinking of something besides normal, every day…stuff.

Give it a try. What can you lose? A few moments of your time? At least they might be happy moments.

Or not.

Whatever.

Here’s to the boundless imagination and creativity of childhood, and may we never let it go.

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What were some crazy things You got up to as a child?

Have those memories or skills helped you in your adult life?

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