The other day, I went to a Christmas party held by a financial group who helps me deal with the morass of American finance.  One of the people in the group was a member of The New Christy Minstrals, a group that goes back to “my era.”  I was impressed.  He has entertained in each of the 50 states.

The party was held at an auditorium, and I had no idea what to expect.  I had a 1300 mile drive ahead of me the next 2 days, and I didn’t plan on staying more than a few minutes.

I stayed more than an hour.  Members of the group had made a band, and other employees danced when asked to appear.  It was wonderful.  My advisor was one of the musicians, and he knew the history of jazz and American music from a century ago.  I learned that “Barbecue” was once slang for “pretty woman”.  I didn’t know that.  When I open my mind, I learn a lot of things, which help me become smarter.  A lot of people call me young, but at 65, I am old.  I happen to keep my mind tuned to new things and try not to disparage or remove them from thought because of my preconceptions.

I listened, and I enjoyed.  I listened, and I started writing, in my head kind of writing, things that the music evoked in me.  What I was seeing on the stage did not evoke an article at all.  It just made me think. Five days later, what I saw on stage became, in five minutes, an article.

Writing is a lot like music in that regard.  Musicians sometimes “get a song” in their head and start to write and polish it.  Sometimes, they have jam sessions, feeding off one another.  A solitary writer like me can’t do the latter, but I feed off of what I see, almost never at the time, but days later, when I didn’t even know the initial moment was special.  I happened to see a video on Facebook that showed South American children making instruments from stuff in a landfill.  That reminded me of music,  the advisor  playing it, how I admired his creativity, and I started to write. There is a story in a lot of things in life; sometimes, it takes another story or an incident to trigger them.

I write.  That is creative.  Oh, it doesn’t bring people to the blog very often, but it allows me an outlet, just as much as the guy who plays on a city corner JUST FOR THE SAKE OF CELEBRATING LIFE BY PLAYING MUSIC.  I write for the sake of celebrating life by combining words and punctuation in ways they have never been combined before.

I never looked at myself as creative, because society often defines creativity as music and art.  That is wrong.  Every writer is an artist, and every artist a writer.  Both are creative.  So are mathematicians, statisticians and chemists, too.  Society calls mathematicians nerds, and it is acceptable not to be good at math.  Statisticians ask the right questions and help design (read: create) studies, and chemists create new compounds.  In 1970, I created ortho-phenyl benzhydryl chloride.  It never existed before, except in theory.  I made it.

Tell me, is it not creative to be able to multiply any pair of two digit numbers in my head faster than a calculator?  Is not the ability to do this in three different ways creative?  Is not my ability to have discovered arithmetical tricks that I have never seen in books creative?  Is the fact that I found the pattern for MENTALLY, NO CALCULATOR NEEDED squaring any number that is all 9s*, that no calculator on Earth can do, because it doesn’t have the space?  Or that I can square any three digit number ending in 5, as well, faster than anybody can with a calculator?

I write, because if I write well, I read it over and over again.  Not all my posts are that way, but some are.  Some of my words are so powerful to me, that I tear up when I read them.  That happens with music, and it happens with writing.

Inside all of us is some streak of creativity.  I hated it when somebody said, “We are all musicians.”  No we aren’t.  He was, but I was not.  What he needed to say was, “We are all creative, should we look deep inside ourselves.”  That is true.  We may not make a living at the creativity; my finance guy makes his living dealing with finance, but he makes his life, I would bet, from music.  It defines him, and it shows his celebration of life, just as my writing celebrates part of my life, just as an orthopedic surgeon’s work mending a broken hip celebrates hers, a trucker who knows how to back an 18-wheeler into a small space efficiently celebrates his, or a horse trainer who can without anybody seeing anything being done make a horse do a flying change and a half pass.

These manifestations of creativity have to be seen to be appreciated. I discover that my creativity sometimes lies in areas that I least expect.  I never expected to become a decent writer; I became one.  I never expected to do some of the things I do, such as canoeing all over the North American wilderness.  The ability to maneuver a canoe, to shoot rapids, to put it on one’s head and portage it, making it look so easy that anybody thinks they could do it, ah, that is creativity and the celebration of life.  It’s not a competition, it is a celebration.

Very blessed are those who can make a living from their creativity.  Very human are those who make their lives from their creativity.


99*99=9801    A nine, an eight, a zero, and a one

999*999=998001   Two nines, an eight, two zeros, and a one.


9 (n times) * 9 (n times)= 9 (n-1 times) 8 0(n-1 times) 1

I found playing the piano difficult.  I found this pattern in about 2 minutes.  Do I make a living from this?  No.  Do I celebrate life from it?  Oh yes I do.


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