Harnessing Creativity

When I was a young man, about eight years old, I got a report card with good grades (A’s and B’s) but, in the comment section my teacher noted that I had “difficulty with problem solving”. And damn near twenty years later, I still do! A simple (and fictional) example of what I mean:


As a child, if you had asked me to put the Legos away I would have arrived at the conclusion that I couldn’t do it. Follow the reasoning if you will. I would look at the little plastic blocks and get it in my head, that I could just dump them all in the bucket and put the bucket on the shelf… OR I could separate them by color and then stack them according to size on one of those flat green pieces you’d use for grass and put the slanted ones at the top and then place each stack on the shelf…but there’s not enough space on the shelf…but if I moved the books somewhere… where can I move the books… there’s no place to move the books, so there’s no place to put my Lego stacks which means I can’t do it… besides, it would take forever to make my color separated Lego stacks and it’s story time and I don’t want to miss the story, it’s Clifford the Big Red Dog! So, I can’t put the Legos away! All of that, when the course of action that was desired was to just dump all the damn Legos in the bucket and put the damn bucket on the damn shelf! 


Now, I’m sure it was just a bit more complicated when I got that report card, but the point is, I’ve always looked at even the simplest task and instead of taking the most straightforward path to accomplishing it, my mind went off on tangents of other ways to achieve my proposed goal. Sometimes I would rationalize this odd little idiosyncrasy by insisting that the proposed (unnecessarily difficult) method was more thorough, or neater, or would yield some unforeseen future benefit. Since then, I’ve gotten a little better. I still sometimes consider Rube Goldberg-ian solutions, but I have learned to redirect my mind to the simpler path for most tasks! The one place where I still haven’t managed to apply that skill is in my writing. You see how long it’s taken to get to this point! I’ve written before about my difficulty in choosing “first words”! But even more difficult, is figuring out WHEN to write.


Let us consider when I tweet most! Aside from live tweeting University of South Carolina athletics, it’s usually in the middle of the night! On one hand, I’m having ideas that I deem worthy of being shared. In all fairness, I’m surprised those late night tweets don’t consist primarily of gibberish, so their worth is a bit dubious. But setting that aside, I do tweet late at night. Even this is being written right around midnight! On the other hand, few if any of those tweets are ever read by human eyes. It’s fair to assume that most of my twitter followers are living in America…although this blog has gotten some reads from Aussies and other interesting places around the world (for which I’m grateful) so it’s possible somebody reads those tweets. (BTW! I always encourage you to look back through my twitter feed… you might be surprised by what you find there). The point is, I can’t seem to tweet during the day! Writing anything at all in the light of day is difficult for me and I don’t know why! So how do I go about replicating the psychological circumstances that lead to these little sprees of thought and thus allow myself to compose my thoughts in written form whenever I wish? 


Truth be told, I keep a list sitting on my desk of possible blog post topics. Now, they’re not all gems, but there are about thirteen topics on the list right now! Some of those ideas are, “A Case For Eugenics”, “The Politics of Nostalgia” and “Porn Star Moves”. I usually have these ideas at work, or while I’m out somewhere and I think them out only to the point that I decide that I could write something of sufficient length and adequate content. Then I add the idea to the list and I don’t actually get around to writing them out. Sometimes it’s just as simple as sitting down at the keyboard and starting (such as this post). But, in general, I don’t actually feel like writing. Well, that’s not true! When I don’t write, I feel like… well, I suppose I’d compare it to (mentally) wanting to masturbate…but due to laziness or some degree of exhaustion, not sitting down to find stroke worthy porn, and thus not masturbating. (I wonder, though I don’t actually want you to tell me, if you can relate to that feeling). 


I have no clue about how to harness my creativity (and I realize I may be applying the term a bit loosely) but I am open to suggestions! Mostly I just wanted to write this to tell the Lego story illustrating what I perceive to be my most significant deficiency, and to compare my writing to masturbation…which it is! It’s literary masturbation. It serves no productive function but, it makes me feel good and, I’m kinda kinky so I let you all watch!

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