Monday, October 15, 2012

Face to Face

Sign at Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver, BC, Canada
My alarm pops off at 4:30am. I leap up out of bed, no sleeping in, no hitting it off on accident like yesterday, when I had to teach. I have to make a flight - and I've only missed one in my life because of sleeping in (the only other flight I've ever missed wasn't due to that).

I slide into my clothes, laid out the night before, brush the colic out of my hair, grab a banana to get me going and my host meets me at the door. We get downstairs before the cab arrives, and we explore the daily issue of Globe and Mail, looking at photo layout and discussing the difference between AP and staff-generated shots. The cab arrives, glowing in the fog, and puts my bags in while I get settled.

"To the airport?" he confirms.
"Yessir. Delta, to the States."
"Got it."
"Going home?"
"Sort of. I live in the States, but I am going to Portland for 24 hours, then back to Wisconsin, where I live."
A pause. He's chatty. Sometimes I like that. Sometimes I don't. I am neutral.
He probably doesn't know where Wisconsin is.
"Is that near Kansas?" a student asked me yesterday. I can't blame her - I am not 100% sure I know where Calgary is, and that is far larger than Madison.

"That's where the Sikh Temple shooting was, right?" Now it's my turn to pause. Crap. I caught the accent - Indian? In the dark fog it was hard to tell. I hazard a guess that *he* might be Sikh, though I don't say anything about my guess.

Monday, October 08, 2012

React V. Create

In an article titled "Overcoming Writer's Block Without Willpower" in Writer's Digest, the November/December Issue yet to be online, Mike Bechtle posits that we can work with neuroscience to understand how to better negotiate Writer's Block. What he juxtaposes is the mind that creates (fresh ideas, openness, concentration) versus the mind that reacts (our source of willpower and distraction). Reacting mind is reiterated, exasperated, by our "modern world" - we "react" when we go to our phones to see if anyone called, ditto email, Facebook, etc. This reaction mind inhibits creativity. So far, so good. I agree, and really like the framing.

However, he goes on to state that removing technology will really help us to sink back into more time to think, more space in which creativity naturally happens. He points to it, but never actually goes that far: the source is there all the time, available, but we overlook it. However, he does not even address how to cultivate a connection, not just how to cut off distraction.