Tag Archives: creativity

Of death, dolls, and inspiration

Got your attention with that title, I’ll bet!

I had a truly wonderful experience this past weekend. On Saturday, my critique group partners and I joined about 40 other mystery/thriller writers from our Sisters in Crime chapter for a presentation and tour of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, MD.

This trip was billed as a chance to see the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, 18 miniature dioramas of crime scenes from the 1940s that were the brainchild of Frances Glessner Lee, a millionaire heiress with a passion for crime investigation.

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What I didn’t know was that our visit also would include a great presentation by Bruce Goldfarb, the special assistant to Chief Medical Examiner himself. Continue reading

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Filed under CSI, On Writing

Tokimeku?

If you’re like me, a non-Japanese speaker, you probably have never heard this word before and have no idea what it means. But this week I learned that, loosely translated, it means “Does it spark joy?”

And I learned it because of a Wall Street Journal article about Marie Kondo, the queen of tokimeku. She’s written a best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” that has been all the rage in Japan and is now spreading worldwide, including here in the United States. She’s just 30 years old. (Wow! I barely knew my way around at that age!)

She’s described as a home-organizing guru which is nothing new, at least in this country where we have tons of them. But what is new is her key question: “Does this spark joy?” When she’s hired to help organize and clean, she doesn’t do the organizing or cleaning herself. Instead, she tells her clients to take everything out of a closet or dresser and then has them hold each item, one by one, and asks them, “Does this spark joy?”

It’s a perfect question, one that gets right to the heart of the stuff we have and Continue reading

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Can our temperaments affect our creativity?

I’ve started reading a new book entitled Creative You that basically looks at Myers-Briggs types and then lays out what, in the authors’ opinions, are the strengths and blindspots for each one. (See Patrick Ross’s Artist’s Road blog for a longer piece on the book, including an interview with one of the authors.)

Now, first, a disclaimer. I am not, repeat not, blindly advocating Myers-Briggs typology or any other assessment tool as a be-all and end-all for understanding our personalities and ourselves. Our personalities and everything that goes with them are so complex and textured that a simple assessment tool such as M-B can only begin to help us better understand ourselves. That said, we use M-B a lot at my agency, and I’m very familiar with its strengths and shortcomings.

Now, on to the book. I’m an INFP, in M-B terms. That means that my personality preferences are Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Perceptive. My strengths (and I know this from personal observation, as well) are being able to see the big picture, thinking strategically, making sometimes creative leaps of logic to envision what the future could be, among other things. I’m also introverted, which means that I recharge through quality alone-time. (I just made that word up, but it really fits.)

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