Friday, October 16, 2020

Opposites Attract

Where can we find genius?  Creativity?  Inspiration?

Often times, it is hiding out in those places of incongruity.  It likes to tease us with questioning all our assumptions.  It asks us to re-look at our world, and take nothing for granted.  In fact, sometimes, creativity is downright nutty.  Take this photo from Vogue, for example.  A girl is holding a surfboard.  There's nothing shocking about that.  But this is a girl in a long frilly orange dress and a floppy straw hat holding a surfboard.  And it's a really old surfboard, so we get the message that she's been surfing for fifty years.  But, she's obviously about fifteen years old.  And then, there's that bright orange dress with all the layers and ruffles--a combination not generally found in the surfing world.  You see, it plays with all our senses, all our assumptions.

And that's why it works.  It shakes up our brain.  It makes us look.  

For your own creativity, begin by entering into this place of incongruities.

It's easy to do.  First create a list like this:

Natural things:












mountain lion

Unnatural things:



evening gown



ruffled evening gowns




high heels

cell phone tower

Next, take these lists and cut them up into little slips of paper.  Put the natural things in one bag labeled "natural" and then put the unnatural things in another bag labeled "unnatural."  Voila, you have your incongruities.  Oh, and you can (and should!) add your own items to the two lists.

Next, close your eyes and pick out one piece of paper from each bag.  You'll most likely get a strange combination such as "tree football."  Weird, huh?  That's good.  It scrambles the brain just enough to unleash your illogical/creative side of your brain.  Begin writing.  Don't worry if it feels crazy at first.  That's a good thing.  The fact is, your brain can't live in a state of crazy/chaos for very long and it will find a way to make sense of this.  Write for fifteen minutes.  Or paint, or draw, or dance!

I bet you come up with something wonderful and highly original.

Please tell me how this little game worked for you in the comments below.

And have fun!





  1. I got garlic hairspray so I wrote about my grandmother's kitchen with me at age 8 sitting at her kitchen table, legs swinging wildly while I watch her make tomato sauce. Then I realized that any house or restaurant I've ever entered that smelled like garlic brings me right back to that kitchen where I patiently wait for sauce, spaghetti, meatballs, chicken, and a myriad of other things she cooked for me including muffins. If there were a garlic hairspray or perfume, I might just buy it. ~Donna

  2. Dear Donna--This is so amazing and so original! I just love how you combined the memories of garlic, your grandmother's kitchen, muffins and hairspray! This is so beautiful and so evocative. It made me miss my grandmother! Thank you for sharing! Love, Jamie


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