Sunday mornings are for lying in…

I’m up and awake since I think I’m still on eastern time very early this Sunday morning. Jet lag can get confusing after a while as I’ve had to mash up Singapore with San Francisco with New York in less than three weeks – am I cold, hot and sweaty or just plain sleepy? I let the weather report tell me how to feel.

I’ve discovered that I cannot function as well as I could without an inspirational muse in my life or two or three. I’ve noticed that those with whom I brainstorm very well each have their own way of affecting the quality of my writing and the topic on which I ponder. While I’ve seen incremental improvement in the quality of my writing [imho only of course] I feel as though I’ve been performing on a different platform this year. This brought to mind an article I just read thanks to John Maeda – he links to the transcript of a talk entitled "You and your research" by Richard Hamming. Here’s the key niblet,

Is brainstorming a daily process?

Hamming: Once that was a very popular thing, but it seems not to have paid off. For myself I find it desirable to talk to other people; but a session of brainstorming is seldom worthwhile. I do go in to strictly talk to somebody and say, “Look, I think there has to be something here. Here’s what I think I see …” and then begin talking back and forth. But you want to pick capable people. To use another analogy, you know the idea called the `critical mass.’ If you have enough stuff you have critical mass. There is also the idea I used to call `sound absorbers’. When you get too many sound absorbers, you give out an idea and they merely say, “Yes, yes, yes.” What you want to do is get that critical mass in action; “Yes, that reminds me of so and so,” or, “Have you thought about that or this?” When you talk to other people, you want to get rid of those sound absorbers who are nice people but merely say, “Oh yes,” and to find those who will stimulate you right back.

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