Book Review: “Imagine: How Creativity Works”

Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer
originally published: 13 March 2012
finished: 30 November 2011 (galley copy)


I have a friend whose husband is a book rep – she passes me the books that she thinks I’ll find most interesting, so I lucked into a galley copy of this book. I consider myself a creative type and have often wondered why sometimes the ideas flow easily and other times it feels like trying to squeeze a hammer through a tube of toothpaste. Lehrer gives a good, scientific basis for why the brain works the way it does. Interesting, but I can’t really do anything about how my brain works, can I? 

The genius of this book is the way he explains how other people are creative. How Bob Dylan dropped out and experienced some of the most creative times of his life. Why cities are such hotbeds for new ideas. How the Pixar team created a space where people have chances everyday to “run into” their co-workers and discuss the work. Why Elizabethan England gave us so many great playwrights. Is 3M one of the most creative companies because they give their employees the time and space to “make connections”? By looking at how others are creative, Lehrer provides a kind of road map on how you could make more creative space in your own life. 

Imagine gave me hope that I don’t have to wait for a muse to hit me over the head. I can take steps that will open the tap of creativity in my head and keep it flowing. That it’s not just a matter of talent but a mixture of planning, work, and perseverance that will allow me to create the life I want to live – both professionally and personally. 

This is another of those books that you can’t speed read through. I read it a chapter at a time and let it sink in. I almost handed the book to my boss, he needs to read the chapter on the “Q” factor (the idea that you have to bring in new people every now and again to juice up everyone on the team). I can think of several other people who will get something out of Imagine – they’ll be getting copies as well. Well worth reading.

Prompt of the Day

Okay, it’s almost the end of November and I’m just now looking at the BlogHer site. Apparently there’s a prompt for every day! Who knew?

Today’s prompt is what is the last thing you do before bed?

What a lovely room!*

Since I have insomnia, I try to go to bed at around the same time every night (between 9 and 10 – hey I get up at 4:30, so that’s reasonable). The thing is, I always have to read before I fall asleep – no matter how late it is. So no matter what, the last thing I do is read a couple of pages in my current book.

If I’m in bed and have finished my reading, but then remember that I have to take my pills or brush my teeth…I go do the whatever and come back to bed. Then I have to pick up the book again to get a couple more pages in. I don’t feel right if I don’t read right before falling asleep.

On rare occasions, my daughter has come into my room, removed my glasses, and turned off the light for me. Yes, she’s a good girl.

(*image cribbed from here:  http://houseandgardenningaddicts.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/feng-shui-bedroom-saidaonline.jpg )

Next Month

I am crazy. I signed up for the December blog every day thingie on BlogHer. I’ve signed up as a crafty blogger, so I’m thinking about things I can do on a daily basis and post them on my blog.

  1. I haven’t gone back to my Artist Trading Cards since that Sunday that I worked with Lisa. I think I may have enough cards to be able to do one/day or at least a couple of weeks worth.
  2. I have a couple of spinning projects that I’m tackling right now. Those might be good interspersed with the ATC days.
  3. I have a billion knitting projects that are stalled in one phase or another. Some of them need to be ripped (at least 2 lace shawls that I’ve made mistakes in and it would be better just to start over), some of them just need a couple of things to call them finished (a sweater that only needs one cuff to be done, buttons put on another sweater, second sock, trim on a hat for Little Big Man), some need major work (Christmas stocking, socks for my mother).

I think I just made myself of list of things that need to be done, are crafty, and can be blog posts. Yay me!

Pinterest

How is it that I’ve just discovered Pinterest? How long has it actually been around? All I know is, I can waste spend a lot of time looking at cool stuff and being excited about DIY, but NOT ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING!

That is wrong and I’ve had to tear myself away from the computer for the last 2 days to actually knit or spin. Craziness.

Long? Weekend

Really, I had 5 days in a row off? Tomorrow, the Hub and Little Big Man will leave again.

The Hub is heading for Florida. He has a flying student who wants to start on Monday. Actually, his head was still in Florida this whole trip. Understandably it was a short one, but I expected him to be fully here and he just wasn’t. When I pointed it out, he was at least aware he was doing it. His explanation was that he has to go back and be “on”. I get it, it was just a little hard to take.

Little Big Man is going back to school. He appears to be doing well there and we’ll know for sure when grades come out in a couple of weeks. Every time I asked him to do something this weekend, he was there and ready. It was a joy to have him here – he was friendly and engaging and only spent 1 night with friends. I will miss him.

It will be nice to have a houseful of just women again, though. Fewer coffee cups, fewer people sharing the bathroom, more places to go when the insomnia hits. But it will be quiet.

Design Website

I found a great design website while cruising the web this morning (and eating pumpkin pie). It’s written by Kara Paslay who’s had careers as a basketball player, designer for Anthropologie, and has now set out to create with her husband – they’re working on having their own TV show. It’s called Kara Paslay Designs and is chock full of great ideas that you can do yourself.

Bubble mobile

She does a lot of rooms, shows you the room, and then does posts that show individual pieces of the room – with tutorials. Take a look at this. It’s a glass bubble mobile that’s simple to make and looks fabulous! Here’s the tutorial on how to make it. There are tons of pictures and step-by-step instructions. I have no idea where I’d put it in my house, but it’s gorgeous and I want one!



Sunburst mirror frame

She uses a lot of circles and sun/star burst patterns that I really love. Here’s the sunburst mirror/picture frame that she made. Again, not a very complicated project (you can either insert a photo or a small mirror in the opening), but one that could really finish off a space. I don’t think it would take a lot of time to make one, but how cool would it look?


As I’m reading further and further back into her archives, I kept saying to the Hub “Look at this one! Wow, take a look at THIS one!” Finally he looked up at me (he was reading) and said, “Why don’t you save a bunch of these and show them to me all at once?”

“Book” shelf

Here’s my absolute favorite idea. How many giant, coffee table books do I have sitting on the book shelf that no one ever even cracks open? (Hint: a LOT) This is a great idea to use a couple of them. Isn’t that a cool way to display something small? She used a textbook from her undergraduate years, but I can imagine putting a book in there that somehow ties into the decorating scheme of a room.


I can’t tell you how inspired I am by this woman’s site. I spent a good chunk of time this morning going further and further back and I’m so excited to give some of her fabulous ideas a try. I love stumbling across tons of blogs to find a gem and I think I’ll be back to this one over and over.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is not my turkey, you understand. We never put the whole bird on the table. We carve in the kitchen and carry platters to the table.

Everyone is on their way to my house, the turkey is in the oven, cranberry relish is in the fridge, pies are on the sideboard, and the stuffing is in the crock pot (I know, it’s a new technique this year – I’ll let you know how it turns out).

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US. Enjoy your families and your meal (and your post meal nap)!

Can you believe it?

A couple of years ago I bought a Western Digital 100 GB portable drive to back up my music. After the investment I’ve made in music I’d hate to see it disappear in a puff of smoke. The drive cost somewhere around $125. Now, I have too much media to put on it. So I had to go get another one.


This drive is 1 terabyte – that’s 1,000 GB! I think it might take a while to fill with media (music, TV shows, movies, etc.). Here’s the thing, it cost $150 – including shipping. How crazy is that? Plus – it’s smaller than my original drive. 


Is technology great or what?

Pre-Thanksgiving

My whole family will be in the same house tomorrow. I’ll be picking Little Big Man up from university at noon. His one class on Wednesday has been cancelled. I would have picked him up tonight, but he had to work. He hasn’t been home since we took him up there and moved him in. On one hand, I’m proud of him for finally finding his place (after 2 years). On the other hand, I’ve missed him this fall. We’ve seen him a couple of times, but it’s not the same as having him actually in the house.


Hub left Florida today to meet his brother in North Carolina. They are driving up and will also arrive sometime tomorrow afternoon. We’ll all be in the same place!


Then the rest of the family will descend on Thursday. We’ll eat too much, drink too much, and laugh a lot.  It’s going to be a good day!

Cool Project

I just came back from a meeting with 2 really cool women who have a great idea for a project. I can’t tell you much, but it involves fiber and the great outdoors. I’m incredibly excited to be working with these women and I’m hopeful that we can pick up some interest from the other great women I know.

I will be documenting my process – just in case anyone is interested after the fact. I always find it fascinating to see other artists’ process. How they come up with ideas, how they work to make them happen, as well as the finished product.

I’m so excited!

Edited to add:
I was awake at 3:00 this morning thinking about embellishments to add to my project. I had to get out of bed to make a drawing and jot down everything I was thinking!