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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ignition

brilliance flashes
souls speaking to souls
of creation
as the world begins again

each conversation
a moment of suspension
where time
is only a concept
and art the ideal

the words transform
as the sparks ignite
the conflagration consumes
all within the sphere
of community

collective imagination
burning brighter
than the individual flames
as the spark jumps
from one to the next

words and music
line and design
I see you all in colors
bright flames leaping higher

 

This poem was originally published at More Yarn For Me. You can view all of my poetry there.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2012 in My Poems, My Writing

 

A Teardrop Falls

By Kate Cheevers

A teardrop falls
A glistening prismatic refraction of light
Reflecting pain and sadness and loss
And the glimmer of hope behind every dark cloud

I need the release
I can’t hold this inside, bottled up and bursting
My sadness growing until it consumes me
Taking over my mind and soul and leaving me empty

Let your tears fall
It’s not shameful to cry
Releasing the anguish and loss in your heart
Leaves you free to fill that space with love
Happiness is waiting to light that void

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Guest Poems

 

75 Chris Miller

Creativity and Risk

{Note: This essay was originally posted on Chris Miller’s site. I thought it was so wonderful that I asked begged Chris for permission to share it with you here. Please spend a little time perusing his site; he has wonderful thoughts and well written words. ~Sue}

 

I spent part of my lunch hour today re-reading Neal Stephenson’s “Inno­va­tion Star­va­tion.” Two things struck me that related directly to com­mon cre­ative problems:

  1. We are to quick to dis­miss things that have, in some way, been “done before.”.
  2. We fear tak­ing chances on our own ideas.

The first prob­lem, Been Done Before, is the most com­mon stop­ping point for novice cre­ators. This applies to a num­ber of fields, art, writ­ing, pro­gram­ming, busi­ness.  In Stephenson’s words:

Most peo­ple who work in cor­po­ra­tions or acad­e­mia have wit­nessed some­thing like the fol­low­ing: A num­ber of engi­neers are sit­ting together in a room, bounc­ing ideas off each other. Out of the dis­cus­sion emerges a new con­cept that seems promis­ing. Then some laptop-wielding per­son in the cor­ner, hav­ing per­formed a quick Google search, announces that this “new” idea is, in fact, an old one—or at least vaguely similar—and has already been tried. Either it failed, or it suc­ceeded. If it failed, then no man­ager who wants to keep his or her job will approve spend­ing money try­ing to revive it. If it suc­ceeded, then it’s patented and entry to the mar­ket is pre­sumed to be unat­tain­able, since the first peo­ple who thought of it will have “first-mover advan­tage” and will have cre­ated “bar­ri­ers to entry.” The num­ber of seem­ingly promis­ing ideas that have been crushed in this way must num­ber in the millions.

What if that per­son in the cor­ner hadn’t been able to do a Google search? It might have required weeks of library research to uncover evi­dence that the idea wasn’t entirely new—and after a long and toil­some slog through many books, track­ing down many ref­er­ences, some rel­e­vant, some not. When the prece­dent was finally unearthed, it might not have seemed like such a direct prece­dent after all. There might be rea­sons why it would be worth tak­ing a sec­ond crack at the idea, per­haps hybridiz­ing it with inno­va­tions from other fields.

Let’s take writ­ing for an exam­ple. There is a great deal of reluc­tance to taken an idea that you feel was poorly exe­cuted upon and use it for the base con­cept of a new work. While an author could not cre­ate a slav­ish imi­ta­tion of the poor work, they cer­tainly could take the base idea, infuse it fresh cre­ativ­ity and new ideas, and then release the new work to the world. Note, though, the the reluc­tance is usual only in the case of the novice cre­ative. Pro­fes­sion­als know that there is noth­ing new under the sun: depend­ing on who you believe, there is only one plot, or seven plots, or thirty-six plots in the whole world. Freytag’s pyra­mid is a basic con­stant of the field. The trick is in mak­ing the old idea bet­ter than it was before. That’s where the skill of the sto­ry­teller and the will to risk putting some­thing new into the world comes to play.

For exam­ple, there is a comic book series called Last Blood. In it, a vam­pire pro­tects some humans dur­ing the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse.  My per­sonal opin­ion is that it wasn’t very well exe­cuted, there were major weak­nesses con­sid­er­ing the moti­va­tions and actions of the char­ac­ters. The idea, how­ever, was fascinating.

Along comes Chuck Wendig. He may or may not have known about the comic…I have never asked him. He releases a book called Dou­ble Dead. In it, a vam­pire pro­tects some humans dur­ing the zom­bie apoc­a­lypse. How­ever, Wendig brings to bear some crazy-yet-fascinating char­ac­ters and ideas that make his book into some­thing special.

Adding the crazy makes the story. That’s the risk. (See that smooth tran­si­tion to my sec­ond point?)

Look at some of these ideas. When con­densed, they sound a lit­tle suspect:

  1. A midget has to take a ring to a vol­cano to kill a dark god.
  2. A wiz­ard lives in in a mod­ern city and has a talk­ing skull as a com­pan­ion. They solve crimes together.
  3. An alien comes to earth, is imper­vi­ous, dresses in dance tights, and peo­ple take him seriously.
  4. A dam­aged kid who saw his par­ents shot dresses as a bat and takes the law into his own hands.

Sure, you can iden­tify those, and they might even sound good given that you know that they work,. However…would you try to take the sub­ject on in a new form?  Would you be will­ing to try to take the same ori­gin story of Super­man or Bat­man and put your own spin on it, while not call­ing them by name? Why not?  Peo­ple have been doing it for years. (If you think that The Man of Steel is all orig­i­nal, go look at The Man of Bronze.)

My point is this: every­thing new is based on some­thing old with an infu­sion of a lit­tle crazy juice. It takes courage to see the sim­i­lar­ity with some­thing that’s Been Done Before and then put a new spin on it. Do not let that stop you.CREATIVITY IS RISK. Embrace it, and do mag­nif­i­cent things.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Creativity Guest Posts