When Science and Creativity Meet


(Object courtesy of me, and an amazing class at Blowing Sands Glass in Seattle, WA)

She studied Materials Science.

He studied Materials Science.

She had a grandparent from a distant land.

He had a grandparent from the same distant land.

She is from the place.

He moves to the place.

It is a creative place.

It is the center of this particular art at this time.

A common friend.

A marriage.

A business.

A class.

She is helpful and patient.

He is informative and methodical.

She provides the back story, the history, and the process.

He provides the science behind each step.

We have questions.

We talk.

We wonder if we are taking too long.

She provides reassurance, the talking is one of his favorite parts.

He continues the stories.

She smiles in a deeply loving way.

He continues the stories.

We left with gifts.

Two of the gifts we made, and both arrived the other day.

The third, and maybe the most important gift, was watching when science and creativity meet.


(Object courtesy of my wife, and an amazing class at Blowing Sands Glass in Seattle, WA)

The Successful Solution Trap

The Successful Solution

Success is great. The trouble with success is that over time, you begin to rely on that success the next time. And the next time, and the next. The prior solution may have been great, and after a few successes, you may even have a few various solutions up your sleeve. Maybe you even have five. But these are a pretty solid five solutions that have worked in the past. You rely on them, and they solved a lot of issues.

But what about when there is a need that doesn’t match your five?  How many times is someone describing their issue, their problem, their need and you are just trying to figure out how to make it fit into one of your solutions?

This success solution trap became real to me a few weeks ago.  I took a call.  I listened for a few minutes.  I had a plan.

“This should solve your issue, and I will send over an outline.”

I opened up an old document that was a successful solution in the past, made a few changes and sent it over.  The reply was not what I was expecting.

“What is this? How is this going to solve our issue?”

I stepped back and replayed the call in my mind while looking at my notes. I was so worried about fitting their issue into my solution, I even ignored my own notes. Shortly after, I re-drafted a new solution and sent it over. It was the right fit, and much more creative than my old canned solution.

It takes a little more work, but new creativity beats old successful solutions. I want to learn from the past successful solutions, but not become a slave to them.

My Cooked Finger is Weak…

The other day I was having this interesting conversation with someone about their voicemail message.  Essentially, they never set up their voice on their cell phone.  When you call them, you get the standard voice stating you reached their number and a beep.  I am always suspect of the standard default voice because I am never sure if I called the right number or not.  I had to ask.

Why didn’t you set up your voice mail?

Well, if I am not there, someone should just text me.

Fair enough.  But what if someone doesn’t realize it is your cell phone?

Then they should not be calling me!

The rest of the conversation was spent coming up with creative messages for their voicemail.  They fell into a few categories:

1.  Trying to be funny.  These are voicemails that try to get a laugh.  One suggestion was the “Hello…hang on just a minute…” or “Hello, I cannot hear you…hello” approach.

2.  Trying to be deep.  These voicemails hinged around indicating that you were either contemplating the universe, conquering the world, or serving humanity.

3.  Trying to be crazy.  These involved getting multiple people in on the voicemail and involved yelling, shouting or various noises in the background (concert, jet plane, or zoo animals).  At one point I was trying to find a way to get the phone and put the message on there when the person was not looking.

It was during this conversation that I remembered the craziest voicemail I had ever heard.  To this day, it always wins hands down!  I first heard it while in college.  I had a musician friend with a few roommates.  At the time, those little magnets with words on them were new and popular and people stuck all these little word-magnets on their refrigerators.  As the story goes, they were making random word combinations and the result was read into their answering machine.  Each roommate had a sentence to read.  Each roommate waded deeply into their respective role.  The result was something different.  Something crazy.

For the full effect you have to read each sentence out loud as if you were the greatest actor or perhaps the greatest over-actor on the planet (a slight British accent helps).  Read them with determination.  Read them with feeling.  Read them with as much emotion as you can muster and you will have just a taste of what I heard the first time I called their number.

“My cooked finger is weak.”

“Misty is she who asks a thousand boys.”

Eat, though you have leg of iron.”


Is your voicemail message funny, or deep, or crazy?  I was reminded that sometimes we let this sort of crazy creativity mellow with age.  What a shame.  We should get crazier and more daring with age, not more reserved.  So, get out there and be creative.  Come up with something new for your voicemail, or maybe even your life.  If you dare, have the courage to share it with all of us.