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Archive: July 2007

Creativity Jam Session: Images and Words

With a bow toward Molly, who’s been posting her own Jam Session ideas, I humbly present two of my own.

Consider the following picture (which is linked to the original’s Flickr page if you want to see it in more detail).

Ashore

Now: come up with the title, author, and synopsis of a book that would evoke this image.  Alternatively, come up with the title, director, and synopsis of a movie that would contain the image.  Part of the challenge is to write the synopsis so that it’s obvious why this image is important.

And since we’re on the subject of using photos to inspire creativity, here’s one based on the excellent webcomic Found Comics.  Go to Flickr and search for a common-word tag—say, “pie” or “funky” or “computer”.  Take the first few images in the results, and then construct a short narrative that ties them together.  And be sure to credit Found Comics for the idea if you publish whatever you come up with!

Individuals and Communities

I was quickly skimming through David Brin’s rantblog (because frankly I don’t have the six hours it would take to read through all his very lengthy posts) when I came across a quote that resonated so strongly, I had to reproduce it here.

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual.  The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.

— William James

This almost perfectly captures how I’ve tried to shape css-discuss and other communities in which, over the years, I’ve been deeply involved or had a hand in founding.  It is a very good starting point to understanding my views of society, politics, and more.  I’m literally considering putting up a framed copy on my wall, right next to my print of “Jump Station“.

But that’s me.  What do you think is the best relationship between individual and community?  How should they balance, or not?  What’s the best way to inspire and maximize both?

London Workshop

So while I was off indulging in the extravagance of an extended vacation/family reunion/road trip, seats went on sale for a two-day CSS workshop in London, starring yours truly and run by the fine folks at Carson Workshops, which will run 13-14 August.  The seats are something like half-sold already, so if you want in, don’t wait.  Sorry I didn’t say anything sooner, but, you know.  Family time!

To those who do decide to attend, I make this pledge: I will not wear the blue-shirt-with-tan-slacks combo again.  This I swear.

Better Know

I don’t know about you, but I keep a “staging” file for my posts here.  It’s a text file on my hard drive where I can write posts offline, and can also keep a list of things I want to write about.  Right now, that list is longer than a typical short entry.  I suppose two weeks’ vacation (photos from which are slowly going up on Flickr) will do that to a schedule, especially with all the driving that was involved.  (And may I express my deep and unbounded loathing of the usually ambiguous and often misleading road signage in the New York City/New Jersey area?  Yes?  Thank you.  I needed that.)

So, to begin the jamcracking: AEA Chicago‘s early bird deadline is fast approaching; it’s just nine days away as I post this.  As we start gearing up for the show, we’ve re-started (and rebooted) an AEA feature called “Better Know A Speaker”.  Originally, these were testimonials from Jeffrey and me, but that turned out to be more than our schedules can accommodate.  So we’ve redone them as short interviews with speakers, which I think is far more interesting anyway.  The first of these new BKAS pieces, with Dan Cederholm, went up last week.  This week we’ve got Jeremy Keith.  In the weeks to come, we’ll cover the rest of our Chicago speakers.  The AEA news feed is of course the best way to keep up with these tidbits and other AEA info, but I’ll probably either blog or linkblog them here as well.

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