be creative

Do Pandabunnies Dream?

Even if you don’t know what a pandabunny is, your brain thinks it does. Your brain is awesome that way!

Tell me about pandabunnies. Are they panda bears with bunny ears? Bunnies with black and white fur? Or maybe bunnies that belong to pandas?

Two is one

So here we have panda bears, we all know what those are. And we have bunny rabbits, hoppity hop. We also have your brain, which is a wizz at something called conceptual blending. Simplified – MASSIVELY simplified – conceptual blending is an insanely creative process where you mind takes two or more distinct things and blends them together to make a new thing. This means we can take a human, add some spider venom, and create Spiderman.

Get Brangelina to Bollywood

In fact, English is jam packed with blended words. Smoke + fog = smog.  Chuckle + snort = chortle. Glamourous + camping = glamping. Labrador + poodle+ labradoodle.  Why? Because language is a living, breathing, infinitely creative thing.

Blend it, shake it, spread it

Although blending happens so fluidly that it’s as normal as breathing, it is something you can consciously practice to get your creative juices flowing. Try:

  1. Mixing and matching to make new words. It’s eleventy kinds of fun.
  2. Imagining blends of different animals. Go on, give the pandabunnies company.
  3. Creating visual fusions from unlikely pairs. Imagine barbed wire with butterflies for barbs. What would your flutterwing wire be used for?

Part 1 of, well, more parts on conceptual blending and creativity, and my obsession with the work of  Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner.

The stunning featured image is by Calavara Officialness at http://calavara.com/?p=971 . Go check it out!

That Creative Space

Get your mind into that creative space by getting creative in your space.

Your brain doesn’t love boring. Or at least, mine doesn’t. It likes colourful, quirky, exciting, interesting things. So I dress my desk in happy stuff. The kind of stuff that make me smile, and that snap me out of the workday argh for a while.

DeskSo much of what I do is routine, and involves sales figures, product pricing, staff reviews,  directoring (fancy made-up word) and on a crazy day, arguments over who stole my green pen. But none of that means I need to have a desk that saps the creative life out of me. Instead I have one that inspires me. One that turns my work place into my play space. Nothing like a gnome holding a glitter pen, to keep my imagination running riot.

But what if you have a very corporate office? Or what if the thought of coloured pens makes you break out in a cold sweat?  Then start small.  Buy a crazy mug, break out some fancy paper clips, add a novelty pen to your drawer, move in some artsy memo paper, or perch a perfectly acceptable stress ball on your desk. I know, I know, it sounds like a slippery slope to iced-rainbow drinks in inflatable pool filled with blue jelly, over lunch. And wouldn’t that be awesome!

Go fun it!