The Finish Line Is The Shortest Part Of The Trip

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At the risk of getting all motivational-postery, I’ve been pondering my propensity toward impatience. I always want to be in the future. “It’s the journey that counts, not the destination.” But actually they are both good. One isn’t better than the other, just shorter. You are short changing your ‘be here now’ time by living for a finish line. I have to remind myself DAILY to really, truly experience each small step, to be conscious of and appreciate the progress as well as the goal. Here’s to the next realized baby step. Cheers.

Labeling Trees: You Can’t Do That On Google

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There is something to be said for tagging things IRL. These beautiful copper tags (from Lee Valley) are soft enough to etch with a nail, and can be hammered to a tree (harmlessly) in seconds. This label is now over a year old and is a reminder of the floral diversity in Ontario. Plus it carries on the knowledge of my childrens’ greatest grandpa who owns over 50 acres of forest. He’s legally blind, but can name the trees by touching the bark. Every time I see these markers I’m reminded how important it is to pass on real information in the analog world.

The ‘Nation In My Head

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I stole this title from my daughter who has decided to also write a book about creativity. She wants to research the imagination, or ‘nation for short. She wishes to examine “Why you have nightmares or night-terrors. Why you have dreams. Why you have thoughts.” She has started her own journal and gave me a sneak peek. I can’t wait to read it.

I Am A DREAMER And Other Creative Revelations For FITC

I’m working on my FITC (Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity.) presentation for Toronto next week called Create More Better Different. I am focusing ¬†specifically on the 8 Creative Types this time, instead of trying to squeeze my entire thesis into 40 minutes with 300 slides. This gives me approximately 4 minutes per Type, with about 4 minutes of padding for an intro, and the same for an outro. The outline is simple: most people are under the impression that creativity belongs to the genius elite. Most people do not label themselves as creative. But originality is just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, experimentation is important to learn how to express yourself uniquely, but learning how to associate ideas, and gaining understanding of multiple fields of knowledge is also important. And the one thing most often overlooked is doing the work. Practicing, becoming experienced in your craft, can take more than a decade of devotion. Creativity is the act of connecting things in unexpected ways. Therefore, creativity is made up three fundamental elements:¬†Action, Connection, and Deviation. Some of us have weaknesses in different elements. I, for one, have a weakness in Action. This means I find it very difficult to overcome inertia and get the work done. I have been prone to procrastination, distraction, and self-doubt among other things. This classifies me as a Dreamer: strong Connection and Deviation, but weaker in Action. There are specific tools a Dreamer¬†can add to their creative toolkit to help break through barriers and get the work done. Some I have developed, others are borrowed from the countless books of creative exercises, as well as self-help books about building routines and beating procrastination.

The other types include the Taker, Mimic, Empath, Crazy, Producer, Outsider, and Maker. I can’t wait to share the rest of my thoughts on this on April 25th at FITC. The structure of this presentation is helping me with this section in my book, which I will be releasing first as a rough draft to those who have signed up to pre-pre-order the book I’m working on right now with the same title: Create More Better Different. I hope to see you at the conference!

Stumpin’

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When I was a kid my dad showed me a technique for drawing on a photograph. It involved some darkroom trickery and trial-and-error. It also meant spending resources on paper, chemicals, film, and time. I remember tracing the outline of our horse, Peggy, in white. Something about white drawn lines over top of a realistic photo looked magical.
Of course now all of this can be done without analog props. But I never thought about it until my daughter’s birthday. She was out playing in the woods by her great-grandparents cabin, and I was taking photos of stumps and roots and rocks. The landscapes looked so rich and magical and I thought of building little sets and taking some tilt-shift photography. But there wasn’t time. Instead, I remembered this technique from when I was a kid, and reproduced it with an iPad. “I wish I had a better stylus,” is my way of saying I’m a better writer than an illustrator.

Ten

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I now have a ten year old daughter. When I started this journey as a first time parent one decade ago I had no idea where it would take me. I still don’t. Parenthood is a gauntlet of endless challenges. It is the reason I have grey hair. And it is stunning in its revelations. I watch my daughter act in ways I acted and then in ways I never acted. It is a reminder that she is not an echo or a mirror but her own beautiful person. She makes me think about everything and if that weren’t prize enough, she laughs at (some of) my jokes. I know she’s tough and vulnerable in equal measure. I know she knows everything and is innocent concurrently. I know she will challenge me at every step and push buttons I didn’t even know I had. But she loves me. And I can’t imagine my life without a taste of that little smile, that little hand closed around mine, that little mind racing to think of another reason to keep me occupied in her presence so she can stay up later than she is supposed to. And it breaks upon me like a wave that her once tiny helpless hands have grown larger and more capable. And in less than a decade more, she may no longer be in my care and that every single moment with her is something to cherish and be in the moment for. To Madeleine on her tenth birthday, I love you.