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Brandish

Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 011419 — Now We're Two!

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The #sparkchamber shines twice as bright today as we add another candle to the creativity cupcake. Happy 2nd birthday to us!

A couple years back, being in the “creativity” business ourselves and having our own manner and practice of keeping the flame true, we got curious about how other people approached their work. And really, more importantly, their lives. We wondered, as a dear friend once said, “What is the way, and what gets in the way?” You know, where are you going, how do you endeavor to get there, and what obstacles block the path.

In the 100+ posts so far, the variety and diversity of contributors is equaled only by the depth and range of their responses. From feng shui to neuroscience, entrepreneur to archivist, cartoonist to photo-realist, composer to musician to conductor, dream incubator to farmer to vintner, with all manner of designers, stylists, novelists, historians, journalists, poets, and Jacks-and-Jills-of-all-trades in between, the main thing we have learned is this: being extraordinary isn’t exceptional, it’s the rule.

This week we take a look back, highlighting some of the insights and observations from the past couple years. Moving forward, we’d love to hear from you! The #sparkchamber questionnaire awaits online. Check it out and let us know what you’re up to. We can’t get enough!! 

1.] Where do ideas come from?

Inspiration is everywhere! Whether driven by something internalunanswered questions [conscious or unconscious]; the past, meaning childhood; trying to make sense of the world; the mash-up of chaos and order that meet in the mind; intense curiosity, inquisition, and grace — or externalspontaneous occurrences, cultural shocks; looking closely at the world; pushing the boundaries; making fortunate mistakes with desirable results — ideas lurk, and wait to be uncovered — ideas are like spores; they’re part of life and they often live in unfavorable conditions; ideas come from the earth, the seas, the void, the stuff of stars inside us, they seek you out with their hands raised, waiting to be called on, and they come to you from out of the air or from dreams.

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

This question prompted responses that are equally personala way to channel the bad parts and create beauty; to reveal what I can’t experience; the fear of not being able, or having enough time, to express all the things I feel inside before I die — and universalhow we have come to think in the ways that we do; the universal aspects of being human; helping people; trying to make the world better, seeking connectionself-expression and connection; joy, light, connection, and love; to communicate something with people I don’t know; sharing memories, laughing, and talking — understandinga place for people to civilly disagree in person; promote better understanding — fulfillmentto put into reality the dream that is in my head; to find your personal joy and intention with your life  — and social change — to use the power of language and performance to drive the zeitgeist toward a healthier, more loving and inclusive path. I seek to use all the tools at my disposal to encourage and support the members of our society to rise to their greatest potential, to learn and expand and explore the constraints of reality itself.

3.] Early bird or night owl, tortoise or hare?

Two kinds of people in the world? The morning people find mornings are quiet with less distractions; morning is when I am most alert and excited, while for the night people at night, I’ll begin to feel a rush of energy and clarity that I never have during the day; I think time slows down at night and I love that about it; I love the privacy of night, the exhale that comes when everybody else is asleep.

There are early birds who want to be night owls — I want to stay up late, yet am freshest and most inspired as the early bird — night owls converted into early birds — perhaps my inner night owl just stayed up later and later until we reached morning — those who are both, by choice — I am both early and late, I like to crash midday; I appreciate the stillness and sense of calm that both offer — and by process of elimination — I have to create quite a bit of content on deadline for several platforms so pretty much ’round the clock; I’m definitely an early bird. I don’t really sleep much, so I guess I’m a night owl, too.

Then there are those who are neither — I am a middle-of-the-day person — and those who check all the boxes — All of the above. Sometimes, I feel like I am five different people with distinct personalities, trapped in one body.

There’s procrastinating — I definitely procrastinate — and planning — mostly it involves creating the structure for questions and solutions to be revealed; my mind works on solving problems or developing concepts in preparation for the next available moment — taking time — I’m slow because I don’t know where I’m going — and jumping right in — I try not to hesitate pursuing new ideas. Momentum plays a big part — I tend to write the entire time that I'm awake until it’s done; once I am in, I can’t put it downonce I start I find it hard to stop and function normally again.

But at the end of the day, it’s about doing it — but just doing it, makes it happen; I’m invigorated when someone tells me that “it can’t be done,” and I find a way anyhow.

4.] How do you know when you are done?

Sometimes the choice is yours — when I stop changing things; all the space is filled; I just get a feeling suddenly that it is finished; I am excited to start the next piece and that inspires completion in the current one; You’re done when you decide to be done, right? You can be not done forever, if you let yourself — and sometimes the decision is made elsewhere — deadlines are a blessing and a curse; on a project, I just want to tweak, tweak, tweak; I am done when time is doneeither the deadline is up, or someone is pulling it from my clenched fingers; I rarely know when I’m done. It needs to be taken away from me; you’re never “done,” but you have to show your work at some point. There’s a distinction between done and finishedI still bump into old work in random places and think. “good god, I never finished that darn thing” — and sometimes the end is just the beginning — you write “The End,” but you’re never done. Maybe we aren’t the ones to decide — in retrospect only — and maybe it doesn’t even matter — I like living a little more in the undone.