First a little announcement: It’s summer.

Yup, it was in the news, I checked, and in fact it’s summer.  Started Friday, likely to go on for a few months.  It’s also getting warmer and sitting in front of a warm computer isn’t fun, so I expect I’ll be doing fewer blog posts until it gets colder and I need to warm my hands on something.

And, summer is vacation session, barbecue session, going to the beach session and poetry workshop session.  Over the next two months I’ll be doing a bunch of these, but since there are only 24 hours in day and 7 days in a week and my schedule is already full, the time has to come from somewhere.  I’m taking a few days off work, and I’ll have to cut back on a few of my writing projects.

Likely I’ll be spending more time sitting by lakes, rivers, oceans and talking to trees more than sitting in my hot office writing blog posts.

So instead of a real post today I’d like to answer a question I often get:

Where do I get all my creative ideas?

Okay, I was asked once, maybe twice.

You see creativity is a bit like a battery – to get electricity out you have to put electricity in.  Simple.  Well, sort of, to charge a battery you need a source of electricity, some wire, a voltage regulator, current limiter, a pulse width modulator, fuse, and if you’re really doing it right a thermocouple feeding temperature readings back to the PWM.  A computer to manage the whole thing wouldn’t go amiss … There is nothing as complex as simplicity.

One source of electricity is a generator.  You know a thingy on a spinning shaft, with lots of wires, maybe a magnet or two with a “prime mover” to spin the shaft.  As the shaft spins electricity comes out.  The prime mover could be anything from a gas engine to a windmill to a hand-crank.

No, seriously, the thing that spins the shaft is a “Prime Mover.” It’s in the book, page 15.

It’s so simple.  I’ll skip the whole you’ll also need transformers, capacitors, diodes, voltage regulators and a ton of other stuff that I learned in electronics school.

Did I ever tell you that? In addition to being a world famous poet, I’m also a qualified “Electronic Engineering Technician.”  Got a certificate around here somewhere that says that.  Might be behind my English diploma – right next to my computer programing books.  Yes, focus isn’t one of my strong points.

Anyway, the whole creativity as a battery metaphor naturally got me thinking about motors, as it does.  Electric motors that is – not to be confused with engines or gear reductions.

But I digress.

You know that an electric motor takes electricity and converts it into motion?  Yup, it spins a shaft that we can bolt things to, like a fan to cool my office.

Here’s the really weird thing: If you take a motor and spin the shaft, it creates electricity  – it’s a generator too!

How cool is that?  The same bit of wire and metal can either take electricity and make motion or can take motion and make electricity.

But, you can’t do both at the same time with the same doohickey (doohickey, technical term meaning ‘thingamabob’).  You either can use the electricity or make the electricity.

Poets, writers and other artists are a lot like a battery connected to a motor.  We only have one of each – one battery, one motor.  The creative battery spins the motor which spins out poems, novels, paintings, blog posts, and other creative things.  When the battery runs out of juice, the spinning stops.

The creative battery can be recharged by reversing the process.  First you have to stop creating and turn your motor into a generator to recharge your battery.  Prime Movers for the creative generator are: Wind, trees, rivers, lakes, oceans, art galleries, reading books, bbqs, listening to music, conversations with friends, time with loved ones, writer’s workshops, and so on.

So, I’m going to switch to generation mode for while.

Back when the battery is fuller.


About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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29 Responses to Motors

  1. Pingback: Big Sky, Blank Paper | The Message Pub

  2. Well, I’ll miss you, Andrew, esp when you come up with lines like “doohickey, technical term meaning ‘thingamabob’”. Happy summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CJ Hartwell says:

    I must say, I really like that analogy. Makes good sense.
    Hope you enjoy your time of generating. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lakshmi Bhat says:

    Enjoy and have a great time and come back fully recharged 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An excellent explanation of the process! Wishing you many happy and relaxing hours of recharge. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. George says:

    However that recharge takes shape, as long as it does. Enjoy all those summer fun things many times over. And over.Winter will be here soon enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I so enjoy reading your posts. You always make me smile. You kind of meander around but it makes sense somehow, and makes me feel good. 👍 I don’t understand all the woodworking and electrical technology even though I’m surrounded by engineers, but I still get what you’re saying. I’ve been telling people recently that I’m out of gas (fuel, I mean) so your analogy about a generator and recharging your battery makes a lot of sense. I like your analogy better. So, for now, when someone asks how my writing is going, I’ll say I’m recharging my batteries. Nature, especially “big nature” like mountains or oceans, often does it for me. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Enjoy the recharge.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Andrew, I wish you a wonderful, relaxing summer filled with the things you love most to do. Don’t worry about us poor peons: we’ll try to get by without your funny posts to keep us on track. I look forward to reading more about your experiences on the fall.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I like your explanation, Andrew. Now if we could only do something about the hysteresis… Enjoy your time off and dump any excess generated electricity back into the grid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hysteresis – the bane of all motor engineers. I am hoping that I’ll generate a lot of stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used to work with a wireman who blamed any unexpected problems/mistakes on hysteresis. When I asked him what that meant he just shook his head from side to side , grunt and walk away. I looked up the answer for myself and over the next few months realized that he reacted that way with everyone, whether they had 30 years in the trade or thirty days.

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        • Hysteresis was a running joke at one computer manufacturer I worked at. One day we were working to adjust a 25″ monitor and noticed when we moved our metallic near the vertical hold adjustment the picture started to roll. While we were looking for our plastic screwdrivers, one of the techs said, “Must be hysteresis.” We all laughed and from then on, all odd electronic behavior was labeled, “hysteresis.” Drove the engineers crazy and they endlessly tried to explain what hysteresis was. Fun times.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Great story. Thanks, Andrew.


  11. I admit to glazing over a bit on the electrical details but I persevered. My daughter was ACE on a Cruiser so I got more than I wanted to know at that point about engineering. Especially when I toured the ship. But your connections at the end are good. Me, I must be solar powered. Today is gloomy and i’m not feeling too creative.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lorieb says:

    do I detect some sarcasm in there? Our summer has arrived too, finally! Has been a long, miserable (cold and wet) winter and spring!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Enjoy your time off, Andrew. It is winter here in the Southern Hemisphere so I am doing lots of writing. PS I liked your generator analogy. I know all about generators, that is how we keep the lights on here in South Africa.

    Liked by 1 person

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