From the category archives:

Background

A Retrospective

by Matt Blair on December 3, 2009

in Background,Life Cycle of Ideas,Meaning,Senses

Is it too early? It’s barely been a year and a half.

I am currently, shall we say, gathering data in Terra incognita.

Rather than rush to publish a few posts that aren’t quite ready, I thought I’d take the chance to highlight a few from the past seventeen months or so.

Writing a blog feels a lot like practicing a musical instrument with the door open.

You try to focus on the sound and the music, while imagining people wandering by muttering:  “Isn’t he getting better at that yet?” Or “He’s still making that mistake?”

Blogging is a process of learning and thinking in public.  After nearly a year and a half, I’m more proud of some posts than others.

Here are a few of the posts that hint at ideas I’ll be building on in the coming year:

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Interlude

by Matt Blair on July 24, 2009

in Background,Replenishing

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted anything yet this month.  I haven’t quite disappeared…

Morning in the San Juans

I had a generous opportunity to escape to the San Juan Islands for a bit, and I’m attending to a few other projects and aspects of my life through the rest of the month.

The pace of blog posts will pick up again in August, starting with a followup or two, and then a new series I’ve been thinking about for a while.

In the meantime, I do have quite a few quotes and ideas from other creative minds in the queue which I’ll be sharing on the Scrapbook, and you may also want to check out my “fun-size” dispatches on Twitter.

Please stay tuned…

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Resumption

by Matt Blair on January 18, 2009

in Background

I had planned to take a short break around the New Year, but did not intend to be quite this late in restarting the publishing schedule for January.

Wintry travel delays, the sudden death of a family friend and business associate with whom I had worked for more than a decade, unexpected complications from the treatment of a minor skin irritation, misbehaving technology, and myriad lesser annoyances have extended my hiatus.

On a more positive note, I have a number of things in the final edit phase which I’ll be rolling out over the next week or two, starting with an new exercise about brevity.

I’ll be posting that in a few minutes.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

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Creative Life, Rich Life

by Matt Blair on October 25, 2008

in Background,Life Cycle of Ideas

What does it mean to live a rich life?

Today’s global financial uncertainty makes that question a little more meaningful than it might have been two years ago, or five, or ten.

I recently changed the motto of this site, to reflect some clarification in my thinking.  I don’t want to simply promote the idea of creativity as some discrete activity we engage in every now and then: in those early morning hours we’ve dedicated to writing, or when we stand brush in hand before a canvas, or when we are in a brainstorming session, trying to explore vast, uncharted areas of our minds.

I want to expand the notion of creativity, until it hits its only natural boundary: the scope of our entire lives. I want to explore it as an attitude that can and will infuse every waking — and sleeping — moment in our lives, and inflect our every action.

In other words, it is not something that is separate from or takes place in the context of  “real life.”  It is real life.  And it is a critical ingredient of a meaningful life.

Practically speaking, what might this look like?  There is no single ideal of a creative life.  What feels dynamic and generative and inspirational for me, might drive you mad, and vice versa.  We can find out what works for each of us by exploring and experimenting with various combinations of six core aspects of creativity:

  • Our skills of perception and awareness of our senses
  • The persistence and volition needed to maintain a creative approach to everything
  • The tools and techniques that we use to work within our own life cycle of ideas
  • The role of culture and beauty in living a meaningful life
  • The way we contribute our unique points of view while collaborating with others towards common goals
  • Sharing our ideas and participating in the global cultural conversation

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