Strategies for Creative thinking: Long Streetcar Rides

Nicholas Carr was on cbc today discussing the effects of the internet on our brains. His research shows that when we read text with links in it (like in the sentence above!) we are continually experiencing small disruptions which impede comprehension and deep thinking. He feels that if you want to do some deep thinking (which he defines as research woven together with personal experience) you need to unplug!I heartily agree.

One of my favorite ways of making room for some deep thinking is to take a long streetcar ride.
There are 3 Rules:
1. Don't go in rush hour 2. Bring journal 3. Don't bring your iphone!

NYC Day 5: Needlepoint with Shane Harrison

Day 5 of NYC I kicked back with illustrator and fellow needlepointer Shane Harrison for an afternoon of stitching, and coffee (and ok bitching too). First stop - Rita's Needlepoint shop at 150 East 79th St. for stocking of wool! Next stop = the wonderful Housing Works bookshop on Crosby street in SOHO. Highly recommended for extended lingering!
For my needlepoint design I used a drawing I had quickly sketched of one of those "Victorian pointing hands". (I don't know if there is a more technical terms for these hands. Please write in if you know! Thanks) I liked the energy in the drawing and thought it'd fit nicely as an eye glass case. Above is the drawing and my progress so far.
ps. I'm aware needlepoint sounds extremely 'Granny' but it does wonders for the brain by inducing slow theta waves (or something like that) which lead to a deeply relaxed state - so there!

Lynda Barry: On Creativity and Not listening to the 2 Questions

For New Year's Day Q replayed Jian's fabulous interview with Lynda Barry. Lynda was speaking about her latest book What it is which was described as part autobiography, part philosophical exploration and many parts instructional guide. She made a strong case for the belief that creative work has more to do with mental health than entertainment.
She cited some research that explained that the brain flow of children involved in deep play and the brain flow of adults in deep concentration is identical. Consequently she believes that creative work has a biological function ie. it should not be done just so you can hear someone say "This is good". She feels if we don't use it it's like having a vitamin deficiency. YES.
The point is that it is good to make something for no reason, but just for the experience itself. And she goes on to say that the neat thing is that if the experience is good, it'll transfer in the "marks' you make. YES.
Also explains that there are 2 questions that inhibit adults and present an obstacle to creativity:
"Is it good?"
"Does this Suck?"
She advises us to ignore those 2 questions and just create.
You can listen to the full interview by going here. I highly recommend it.