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.