Your mind is about to be exposed to its new gateway drug. Welcome to my worlds. Smell what's cooking? Imagination on fire...meaning the emergency exits are blocked, so anything you're about to read can't be unread. Hold on to your happy thought.
Every now and again, you may feel that your personal life, the world around you or one of your writing projects has fallen into a rut of stagnation. How can you fix it? Change your normal routine. Yes, big scary change. Embrace the change. It can be good. It can stimulate new ideas and ways of doing things.
Static systems tend to produce static results. That's often just fine. Predictable results are frequently what we seek. Sometimes, though, you're going to be searching for something new, even if you don't know what it is. I would also suggest that when you go shaking things up, have some fun doing it. Give your imagination a little challenge, though, and you might come up with some more creative ways of shuffling your deck.
In the spirit of my recent writing about tricksters, I'll share a couple of my own past shake ups.
Once upon a time, I worked as a radio DJ. It's a job that can be fun, but it has its own particular thorns, too. Hey, that's why it's work and you get paid to do it. Anyway, one particular afternoon, I decided to play Queen's "We Will Rock You". Most of you familiar with it know that it is normally followed by "We Are the Champions". This makes sense because it's the very next track on the album and the gap between them is so small that the first flows into the second very well. People have become accustomed, almost programmed, to hear them together. Well, that particular afternoon, I made note that the two separate tracks are just that: two separate tracks. When "We Will Rock You" finished, I spun something else. It was a nice smooth transition into another bit of rock and roll that I don't even recall at this writing. What I do recall, though, is that we got a pretty fair idea of just how many people were listening to my show that day because the phone lines rang like I was giving away money. Not playing "We Are the Champions" was apparently enough to incite an emotional riot because that was suddenly the most important thing in their world. I even got to talk to some some station executives who usually didn't care about talking with me. Who knew they had such an interest in what I played?
Another fun upon a time came way back in 1993. That's right, the twentieth century. Some friends of mine had gotten terribly excited about the opening night of "Jurassic Park" and called a couple of dozen of us together to go watch it. It was a real event. The box office lines were long, spotlights were sweeping the sky and news crews had come out to do their little feature pieces. One of my friends who had called us all together had arrived about the same time as I had. As we were getting our group organized in the very long lines, we chatted to pass the time. To make the wait more interesting, he said we should "Sow the seeds of Chaos." What could I do but accept such a lofty challenge? I put on my 3D glasses.
Now, let me explain at this point that earlier that very day I had come upon a stash of 3D glasses. These weren't the slick Men-in-Black-looking 3D glasses we enjoy in the twenty-first century. No, these were their primitive forebears, made of colorful cardboard and sporting one red and one blue lens. I had found a box of them at work that no one else wanted. I was told I could have them and shoved them into my backpack. Between the time of that find and the movie showtime, I found that those 3D glasses didn't just enhance 3D films. They also made the world a brighter place as well as the covers of comic books. So I was already having a fun Friday afternoon. Since we were going to see this great new film with groundbreaking computer effects, I had to give it a try with my new glasses. And I had enough for everybody. As more of our friends arrived, I gave everyone their own 3D glasses.
With the challenge aired and accepted, I encouraged the rest of the group to begin putting on their 3D glasses. Then, I waited. At first, there were a few curious finger pointings and giggles, but I held my ground and acted "normally". Soon, the questions started. "Why do you have 3D glasses? Is this a 3D movie? Do you have any more?" "Well," I said, reluctantly reaching into my bag of tricks, "I have a few extras..." and began handing out 3D glasses to grateful strangers. As that spread, more inquiries came, people asking "Where'd you get those? Is this a 3D movie? Where can I get a pair?" "I really need to hang on to some for my friends," I told them, "but you could ask at the box office." Grateful for the guidance, they'd trot off to bother theater management. As I recall, we even made it onto the news as the curious reporters began to wonder why no one had told them "Jurassic Park" was being shown in 3D. The movie theater personnel were too busy to respond to the inquiry, but I was happy to give out some of my extra pairs of glasses to the local media.
As we drew near to getting our tickets, my friend conceded his challenge when he asked, "What the Hell are you doing?" I reminded him, "You said, 'sow the seeds of Chaos'." "Well, yeah," he said nervously, "but I didn't think you'd be so good at it."
It was all in good fun. No lies were told and there were no casualties that I heard about. Plus, we all enjoyed the show. It seemed like those dinosaurs were ready to leap off the screen.
How do you shake things up and turn the mundane into something fresh?