[UPHPU] Creative Work

Robert Merrill robertmerrill at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 11:01:53 MST 2008

On Feb 4, 2008 8:28 AM, Roberto Mello <roberto.mello at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Feb 4, 2008 4:32 AM, William Attwood <wattwood at gmail.com> wrote:
> I imagine the answers to this question will be as varied as people
> themselves.
I agree they will likely be varied. I like to force myself to look at a
problem in various ways. For me, that includes white-boarding it out,
walking around, talking about it out loud to myself.

Once I've wrestled with the problem, I like to put it "down" mentally, and
just stare at my notes, scraps of  paper, napkins, the whiteboard, or
whatever (funny how digital I am, these things all have to be physical,
tangible...) Purposefully disengaging at times, and then re-engaging after
intense diversions. This can be other work, leaving the office, or engaging
in other roles in my life.  Then I come back to it... but I have noticed
that unless I change the circumstances of my location (could be as simple as
time of day, intensity of light or light source, or how I am dressed) when
considering the problem, I can often not escape the same conclusions about

When I think I've got it, I like to explain it to someone--partly to hear
the way the words come out of my mouth, and also to see if they get excited
about it, engaged by it, or otherwise confused by it. If they can't explain
it back to me, it still doesn't work... but it helps me get clear on it.

Once I develop a vision that I can see, mentally, the feverish work of
outlining, sketching and then filling/coloring in the solution begins. I
often imagine myself like a painter, trying to tell a story with these
words, images, code, charts or data. Sometimes, music helps. Sometimes it
distracts. The fury, though, is to get it down. Captured. Physical and out
of my mind.

Here's a funny example. I have a Rubik's cube on my desk that I have not yet
solved.  I *could* solve it, but I like to leave it there, messed up. I am
intrigued by watching the people who come through my office in what they do
with it.  Everyone notices it. Some pick it up with trepidation. Others work
on it feverishly.  Its also interesting to see how some people can talk with
me while playing with it, while others have to focus on it completely.
Still. trying. to. stutter. through. sentences.

That is how I like to solve problems... like this Rubik's cube.  Pick it up.
Mess with it. Put it down. Look at it.  Change it. Watch other people mess
with it....

Robert Merrill
801-885-0400 (cell -- txt msgs are ok)

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