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Creative Control in the Age of Kickstarter

How much creative control do we cede when other people’s money is involved? Before I get to Kickstarter, let me throw in a historical anecdote. Galilee Galileo was not only the Father of Modern Science, he also earned a decent income from book sales. He was driven enough by profit maximization to eschew writing his […]

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Forgiving Yourself for Not-Done To-Do’s

“Congratulations,” a colleague told me yesterday. “For what?” He smiled and pointed at the cloudless blue sky through the window behind him. “For surviving the winter.” His statement implied two things: that it was no longer winter, and that I had survived. I do not consider myself a person of weak constitution, but I have […]

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Why I am Obsessed with Artists

“Patrick, why are you so obsessed with artists and their creativity?” I’ve been asked that question a fair amount during my years as an artist’s advocate and a creativity and writing instructor. There is no simple answer to that question, but if the top five answers were on the board, one of them likely would […]

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Separating Curiosity from Creativity

Can you be creative without being curious? I find myself curious to learn the answer to this question. On some level it seems like asking if you can enjoy peanut butter without peanuts. Loads of creativity scholars tell us that curiosity is what drives creativity. But what if forces in our lives reduce our level […]

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Envy, Narcissism, Depression and Creativity

Two weeks ago Facebook celebrated 10 years of making us depressed and envious by creating for each user a personalized video not unlike what you see in an Oscars “in memoriam” telecast. It was a wise move by Facebook’s corporate brass to create a video starring ourselves, because academic studies show Facebook encourages narcissism; feeding the […]

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No Writing Today, I’ve Gotta Watch Curling

I covered the sheet cake in white frosting. Squeeze tubes of red and blue icing were used to make the rings on both ends. Yellow and red gumdrops became stones, and some of my son’s Lego men posed as the curlers. I don’t recall now what we did to simulate their brooms. The cake was […]

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The Linguistic Legacies of Technological Change

It is an annual obsession of ours: What new technological words have been added to the dictionary? When did “email” make it in? How about “tweet”? Of course, making the dictionary may insure a word immortality, but it doesn’t guarantee continued cultural dominance. I use the word “fax” nowadays about as much as I say “defenestration.” (Saying […]

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Turning Your To-Do List Upside Down

It’s looming behind me as I speak, mocking me. It’s my whiteboard wall, which as I noted on this blog the other day is filled with dozens of bullets of short-term tasks to advance myself as a writer and teacher. It helps my mind to have all of these to-do’s written down; I feel a […]

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Why I Left my Literary Agent

It was the hardest professional decision I ever made. Harder than leaving a stable think-tank job to join a start-up as its CEO. Harder than walking away from that successful start-up four years later to answer the call of an art-committed life. After three years of labor, with the finished memoir in hand, I chose […]

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What is Your Ten-Year Plan?

My read on today’s society is that it is no longer “cool” to set New Year’s resolutions. Not helping the resolutions’ case is that we rarely keep them; there’s a reason gyms require you to buy a year-long membership rather than pay month-to-month. For me, I’ve never felt moved by the random change of an […]

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