I own a couple books on the topics of creativity and genius. Yes, genius. It's a more contentious topic than one might think. At least, the definition of it is. I've been reading up on creativity because I long to be more creative but am lazy. So, you know, might as well just read what someone else has to say about it.
One of the books I have states, early on to my relief, that the vast majority of subjects in their studies on creativity who showed some real creativity differed only from the dolts who sat drooling and slackjawed in front the their TVs all day in that they believed themselves to be creative. This was in the introduction* - why on earth would I need to read anything else?!? Time for a new mantra, is all. OK, time for a mantra...I've never had one before.
In fact, it was a good point. Kate has just recently begun pretending. I mean, a lot. She tells us what she's doing and it's always some delightful tale that takes her either around the world ("all the way to China!") or just downtown to the ice cream shop. When I think of my book (Thinkertoys, if you're interested in skimming the intro while standing around at Barnes & Nobel) I think the author might have been slightly off in his estimation. Kate doesn't think she's creative - she just doesn't think she's not. I know it sounds like a ridiculous technicality but I think it's key. She doesn't even know what creativity is but she uses her imagination incessantly and she comes up with some delightful stuff. Years of public school beat the creativity right out of me.
So I've been taking some measures lately, to try to make myself think a little differently. First, get out of ruts. I can't get out of all them at once because I usually really want a medium, non-fat latte when I find myself in a coffee shop. Baby steps. So, I've been mixing it up on my drive to and from work. There are myriad routes I can take but usually I go the same way all the time. For the past few days, I've been doing something different each day. I'm hoping that seeing different things, having to remember different turns and sudden turn-only lanes will fire some long-dormant synapses. And then maybe one day I'll order a large non-fat latte or something risky like that.
*I believe you must always read the introduction to your books. You miss a lot when you skip it. And I know a lot of people skip it. So cut it out.