Creativity Test

Creative Dog
I found an article in Scientific American MIND last night at Barnes and Noble that (among other things) talked about ways people can be tested for something as subjective as determining how creative they are. These are the things it suggested.

  1. Ideational fluency – I say a word, “glass” for example, how many words/sentences/associations can you come up with related to the word.
  2. Variety and flexibility – How many uses can you find for an object such as a ring for example.
  3. Originality – Can you develop a solution that no one else comes up with?
  4. Elaboration – The ability to come up with an idea, expand on it then create a solution from it.
  5. Problem sensitivity – Can you recognize the central challenge in a task and the difficulties associated with it?
  6. Redefinition – Can you view a known problem in a different light?

The article also had ideas on things you can do to become more creative:

  • Wonderment – Have a spirit of discovery, curiosity. Question the obvious.
  • Motivation – follow sparks of interest.
  • Intellectual Courage – Take what you know and think outside of it.
  • Relaxation – Personally this has been the best tip of them all for me. I found that for months of my life I was so busy (or thought I was so busy) that I never took time to sit and meditate. When I finally did, it was like a floodgate of ideas were unleashed. It’s amazing what your mind will do if you give it time and room to work.

Very interesting article… I think creativity is something that everyone could use a little more of.


More Art Rage Painting

I continue to be impressed with ArtRage, the free painting program from Ambient Design Ltd. This is my latest creation. It’s a Modigliani copy (this time no tracing). The original painting is appropriately titled “Girl with Brown Hair.” As you can tell… I’m not a painter, but the point is that the software is good, fun and easy to use.



I had the chance to read a couple short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald — “The Rich Boy” and “Head and Shoulders.” Of the two, I enjoyed Head and Shoulders the most. It’s a rather humorous story of a child raised to be a prodigy and how he’s pulled out of prodigy-hood by a beautiful (but not-so-smart) blonde girl. Fitzgerald does a a really good job of developing real characters quickly and effectively.

“The Rich Boy” was also enjoyable, but it’s look at a young man and the effect of being rich with ‘old money’ was slightly depressing; it was one of those stories where you really feel bad for the protagonist most of the time through. Again, however, the characters in the story are very well developed and easy to sympathize with. I recommend both of the stories.


The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyville

I just finished the short story “The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyville” by Mark Twain. It’s about a man who is wronged in a small town known for it’s honesty who decides to ruin the entire town by ruining their reputation. In typical Twain style, the story is straightforward, easy to read and comprehend and very engaging. I recommend if it you have some time.

I also read a short Sherlock Holmes mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle called “The Man with the Twisted Lip.” It was pretty typical as well, interesting and a quick read. Sometimes it seems that when I’m reading I unwittingly find a common theme among a wide variety of authors. Last month it was France and everything French, especially the lack of morals there. This month it’s opium dens… strange how these things play out.


Were I a Dung Beetle

Today I read Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. It is a story of a boy who wakes up one morning to discover that he’s changed from a traveling business man, providing for his entire family, to a large dung beetle. The change doesn’t shock him too much at first–he’s more concerned about being late for work, but later the full impact of it settles in as he discovers his family no longer views him as they previously did.

I enjoyed it. Kafka does a great job of making the absurd seem completely normal– reading the story, you feel as if turning into a beetle were something that could possibly happen to you tomorrow morning. The descriptions are vivid–he makes it easy to feel what it would be like to be a dung beetle–everything from the physical aspects of learning to walk as a beetle to the alienation one might feel upon suddenly metamorphosing into a large insect. It’s also very interesting how he describes the process of losing touch with humanity and gradually starting to think like an insect.


The DaVinci Code

Finally got around to reading the The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. It was a pretty intriguing novel. The history, facts and figures in the book are very interesting and were almost all things I had never heard of. The Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, the concept of Sacred Feminine, some interesting observations on the The Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci to name a few.

While the history and facts in the book are interesting, and it’s a page-turner , I found it a little lacking in the areas of character development, plot and dialog. Despite these things, I’d recommend The DaVinci Code to anyone who has a little time to devote to reading because of the aforementioned well researched facts and information.

Read on to see what else I’m reading at the moment.


The Vice of Reading

I just had the chance to read “The Vice of Reading,” by Edith Wharton. It’s an essay in which she takes the position that there are certain types of readers, which she calls “Mechanical Readers” that basically should not read and are harmful to literature in general. She contends that real readers, like musicians or other talented people, are born, not made. Mechanical readers are those for whom reading is a task–people who consciously make it a habit to read and who keep track of how much they have read. She explains four reasons that these types of people are harmful, the gravest of which is “the crime of luring creative talent into the ranks of mechanical production.”

It’s an interesting point of view. I don’t think I agree with her opinion that a good reader can’t be made–I think that with enough exposure and the right circumstances most people could become good readers. The essay has something of a condescending tone to it, but that does not mean that most of what she says is not true. What type of reader am I? I’m not really sure–which may in and of itself place me squarely in the mechanical side of things.

If you’d like to read this essay, you can find it here: The Vice of Reading, by Edith Wharton.