Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Need Sparks

Paco is doing a creative writing workshop at school. He shared an interesting observation with us: he finds inspiration for his essays in the most random and trivial places. He described it as a spark. A spark doesn't need to be big or meaningful, yet it is essential. Just like you need one for a bonfire. All the wood in the world won't give you much fire without an initial spark.

I have found most creative processes are similar, which is why I rarely have brilliant ideas in the shower. I need the sparks that the world around me give me. I have most of my ideas while talking with people. Something someone says acts as a spark for me.

I explained to the boys this is one of the reasons we travel and take them places. To give them lots of sparks & fuel (more on fuel below). We also spoke about how ideas often evolve far from their original spark and how the most "random" sparks sometimes generate the best ideas. Think about a cigarette that sparks a giant forest fire. What resemblance does the giant fire bare to its original spark?

Of course fuel is also important - probably more so. A spark on a tiny wet branch won't generate much of a fire, yet a large pile of dry wood will lit fast and large. Our fuel is made from our lives' cumulative experiences. We have to accumulate fuel and expose it to sparks.

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