Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’



(Find out more about “Being Elmo” here.)


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I’m sure many of you have seen this by now.  THIS is the power of passion and vision.  9 year old Cain knows what he loves and what drives him, and seeming limit in resources and lack of interest from other people had nothing to do with following what he knew was his to do.  He just created for the love of creating and he used what he had right in front of him and the power of his heart and mind to do it.  Beautiful beautiful beautiful.


I’ve mentioned in the past my love-hate relationship with social media;  THIS is where its power and value is and I could absolutely get on board with something like this.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this!


You can also go here to contribute to Caine’s college scholarship fund.


So if you haven’t seen it yet, without further ado…


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( the following in quotes  is from my latest reading obsession, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, unless otherwise noted)

“Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy, and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.  A writer writes with his Genius;  an artist paints wither hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.  It’s our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.”

(Elizabeth Gilbert‘s TED talk and her thoughts on the ancient Roman’s idea of “the Genius”)

“Every sun casts a shadow, and genius’s shadow is Resistance.”

“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.  It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.  Resistance is protean.  It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.  It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.  Resistance has no conscience.  it will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned.  If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get.  Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”

“Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North–meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.

We can use this.  We can use it as a compass.  We can navigate Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.

Rule of Thumb:  The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

The enemy is a very good teacher.–The Dalai Lama

“Resistance has no strength of its own.  Ever ounce of juice it possesses comes from us.  We feed it with power by our fear of it.

Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”

(feed your white dog.)

“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.  We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our death bed.

Never forget:  This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.  This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.

This second, we can sit down and do our work.”

Boogie Chillen’ :

Well my mama she didn’t ‘low me, just to stay out all night long, oh Lord
Well my mama didn’t ‘low me, just to stay out all night long
I didn’t care what she didn’t ‘low, I would boogie-woogie anyhow

When I first came to town people, I was walkin’ down Hastings Street
Everybody was talkin’ about, the Henry Swing Club
I decided I drop in there that night
When I got there, I say, “Yes, people”
They was really havin’ a ball!
Yes, I know
Boogie Chillen’!

One night I was layin’ down,
I heard mama ‘n papa talkin’
I heard papa tell mama, let that boy boogie-woogie,
It’s in him, and it got to come out
And I felt so good,
Went on boogie’n just the same

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I basically read any interview with Michelle Williams I come across because her work to me is the epitome of what I want to strive for.  She was utterly brilliant in Brokeback Mountain, but Blue Valentine is what really sealed the deal.  There are two movies that I have seen thus far in my lifetime where, at the end of the film, I was left sitting in the theater feeling as if my entire soul, heart and being had been completely stripped naked and  left exposed for all to see.  Blue Valentine was one of these movies.   (The other was Into The Wild).  The acting in BV was so pure and truthful and generous, it is impossible for me to understand anyone not seeing  or experiencing what I did.  Soooo…to cut to the chase,  I think she’s pretty swell, and I love her interviews because she brings that same pureness and truthfulness to them as well.


Recently I read this article where Williams is interviewed in GQ Magazine.  It’s a beautiful and intense interview that goes in and out of a lot of places over the course of 3 days.  In it  the conversation steers towards some of the books that stand out for her, one being A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit.  I had read this in the past,  as she apparently was given the book to  read during the year after Heath Ledger passed and it because significant to her during the grieving and healing process.  As I hadn’t gotten around yet to reading it  and  had just (finally!!) discovered  my neighborhood library, I wrote it down as a reminder to soon read in the near future.


It, along with a few other books, arrived via my library request list this past Monday, and so I enjoyed an extra long and refreshing walk to pick them up.  Tonight I finally started reading it during my subway ride into  Manhattan and back to see Primary StagesRx at  59E59 Theaters.  Already it is clear why this book arrived to me when it did, and the synchronicity in timing with my upcoming departure of Facebook (and the likes) is heard loud and clear and not at all lost on me.   I won’t give too much away for those who have not yet read it, but I do wish to share a few quotes  and excerpts below that have already resonated strongly with me.



How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you? (–Meno, pre-Socratic philosopher)


Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark.  That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.


Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found.  It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own.  Scientists too, as J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked,  “live always at the ‘edge of mystery’–the boundary of the unknown.”  But they transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.


That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.



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After reading a friend’s latest thoughts on this weekend’s Occupy Oakland protests and arrests, I started searching on the current happenings and came across this article about the damage done by the anarchists.  He and I have talked before about Occupy’s refusal to stand up to the anarchists but rather this idea of respecting everyone’s rights to the way they protest.  Which IMO is bullshit, especially at the detriment of the purpose of the movement itself.  (But that’s a whole other post.)


What I look to then is a creation like Reddit, where the community DOES so easily self govern, and those that try to cause nonsensical havoc are quickly smothered out.  Which leads me to think then, why does this work so easily in an online community but not in a current in-person revolution?


This is something I’ve been pondering on and accessing  for quite some time–this idea that current technology that “connects” us also disconnects and dehumanizes us in so many ways.  There has been a shift where people are freer and more apt to communicate via technology than in person, via technology losing the human aspects of eye gaze, voice intonation, and body language.  Certainly anonymity plays a part in this; there is the  freedom to say whatever you want if nobody really knows who you are (or where to find you).  Or even for those that are completely forthcoming with personal information, but know there are no real in-person consequences to whatever one might say.  I’ve been both disgusted and fascinated with comment sections in various forums (news, FaceBook, entertainment sites, YouTube, etc) where people will say the most astounding things; and you know full well if someone were to actually have the balls to say such things in person (they wouldn’t), retaliation would not be deemed unreasonable but perhaps even cheered on.


In light of all of this and now the recent Google privacy changes, I have to ask is the internet becoming (or has it already) the new television, aka  the means of propaganda control by government and the 1% corporations?  While we, the 99%, are certainly beginning to figure that out and using it to our advantage, how much are we awake and aware to how it influences us as humans in our everyday, interactive (or non-interactive) lives?  Certainly the governments and corporations (same thing) see the big picture and are well aware of how to both use it against us as well as how the people are using it to fight back; hence SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the likes.  But are we, the people, seeing the big picture and fully at choice in our daily lives in the use of the internet and modern technology and how it might be influencing our in-person interactions?




I don’t have any answers and not necessarily expecting any in return, but rather am presenting food for thought, as it is something that has been mulling around in my head space for quite some time.  I think it’s more than worth considering and being brought to awareness and discussion to the public at large.  Even today so many of the people do not get that the TV is being used against them as a propaganda machine and a means of control.  I would guess that even though the internet is a prosperous means of information  and idea exchange, even less of the people realize that the internet is being used for this exact same thing and in a much more intrusive way.  Is newer, more advanced, smarter, faster, and more more more better?  Is it helping or hindering us, or both?  And what can we do with and about this information?


Lastly, I’ll live you with an excerpt from this great interview with the film maker, Terry Gilliam, on this very subject:


“Would you ever make a satire about the world we’re living in today?:
Well that’s the part… I don’t know how to get at it. I mean, how do you get at it? I think if there’s anything, it’s about how people are becoming so disconnected from reality even though we live in a time when everything is connected. And that’s the irony of it. And that’s why I’ve got this house in Italy. When I’m there, I just do manual labor. Just physical work, and dealing with trees, birds, bugs, rocks.

And then I start talking to younger people and I realize that they don’t understand where things come from. They don’t understand how the system works. This is terrifying. They just are consumers, and that’s it. And that’s like the dream if Orwell had written the dream. We don’t live in a socialist or capitalist society; it’s a consumerist society, and nobody cares, as long as they’ve got their goodies. And if it’s well-designed, it’s even better [points to an iPhone on the table].

And yet at the same time we’re supposed to be getting cleverer and thinking. What may be happening is, I just think people are becoming neurons, and they’re just part of this big thing. Hollywood was always like this. A new idea pops into the system “Boom!,” all these neurons start firing, synaptic gaps are being leapt. And then it dies down and the next idea comes. It goes like that. And the world is becoming like that now.”


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Before heading off of facebook for my little vacay, I inquired to others on any recommended websites for creative writing prompts.  What I had come across in my own search were a lot that were just not that inspiring for me personally.  Either the prompts themselves were too boring or common, or some would be a supposed start to a story, but they would basically be a prompt giving away the whole story–which to me didn’t leave enough for it to go in crazy, fun, imaginative directions.


One of my friends, Greg, pointed me towards creativewritingprompts.com, which is a website with numbers 1 to 346.  On this site, you hover the cursor over any of the numbers with your mouse and then a prompt pops up.  This has been one of my favorites, and was the first one that I used.  They have some really fun abstract prompts like “write about the color of hunger,” or “write about the fickle Finger of Fate.”  Other prompts  include lists of words that must be included in your piece,  those that are written from a different point of view (like that of a wedding bouquet), or those that start with obscure questions like, “how would a broken plate feel?”


Some of my prompts have sprung up organically without having to search for them; meaning my writing took me to a place, which then made me curious, so I did some research, which led me to new information, which then led me to my next day’s writing prompt.  Kind of awesome.


I also like visual prompts, and in my hunt for these discovered the incredibly awesome Smithsonian Institutes’s photostream on Flickr.  I especially love old pictures of people I don’t know and to imagine who they were, what their lives were like, etc.  I haven’t used it as a prompt yet, but here is one of my favorite pics that I’ve found from this site:


Bob Bartlett and local inhabitant aboard ship during Bartlett’s Arctic Expedition, 1933




My newest delicious discovery is Story Starters from Scholastic.com.  It is a fantastic story starter generating “machine.”  You type in your name and then pick your grade (K-1, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-6th).  I mean who wouldn’t want to be a 2nd grader again?  It then takes you to the elementary school slot machine, where you can either pull the handle to have all four components come up at once, or push the individual buttons and do them one by one.  Once the four part “story starter” comes up, if there is a part that you’re not that excited about, you can change that one by spinning it again, but still keep the other three.  Or you can change two, or three, or all of them.  Some fun ones I’ve already been gifted with include, “Write a brief newspaper story about an overweight jellyfish that is afraid of spiders,” “Write a brief biography of an Arctic flamingo who paints murals,” and “Describe the secret wish of an unpopular carnival clown who only talks in rhyme.”  A lot of my creative writing pieces have been steering towards the more serious and philosophical side, so this was a really fun and refreshing change.


The piece I started today (I left it at a nail biting cliff hanger) was “Write a fairy tale about a hopping fire truck who loves peanut butter and jelly.”  I won’t spoil it and give it away, but let’s just say that Boris the Fire Truck may have been born with all of the natural attributes of a fire truck, but in his secret heart of hearts, he dreams of being a Monster Truck….and on this particular day, on his way home from the playground, he happens upon a magical, shiny, sparkly________….yeah I know…..you’re DYING to know the rest.


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