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Inspiration

A photographer who’s work I greatly admire works on the small scale. And with models who are more than just a little plastic, they are Lego.

Here’s a piece he wrote for a Lego oriented blog about his sources of inspiration. While it is obviously focused on both Lego and photography, the advice to bring focus through a narrow scope is applicable to nearly any creative process.

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A different kind of creative writing

Clearly inspiration can appear anywhere. A demonstration of that can be found in the customer written reviews of some products at Amazon.com.

I don’t know what prompts certain products to be selected for this, but several have been singled out and treated to massive demonstrations of creative writing. Here are a few examples:

  • How to Avoid Huge Ships by John W. Trimmer. About 1200 reviews. The title says it all, and the author was apparently quite serious about the subject. His reviewers weren’t.
  • Tuscan Milk 128 fl.oz. About 1700 reviews, most of which are playing the game. The top rated is a lovely parody of Poe’s The Raven. The top scoring Q&A entries are also pretty good for this item.
  • Three Wolf Moon T shirt. Almost 3000 reviews. Be sure to read both the highest rated favorable review and critical review.
  • Banana Slicer. Over 5000 reviews. This is a plastic gizmo that slices a peeled banana all at once. The questions are a riot too.

These are just the tip of a fairly large iceberg. You can usually find more products that have viral reviews through the section on each product’s page titled Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed.

Or, go find a product that seems like it needs a little cheering up and write a review for it. Draw a few cards for inspiration. And if you get it to go viral, drop a comment here so we know who to blame.

Hero’s Journey in Interpretive Dance

I was joking the other day that there might even be an interpretive dance take on the Hero’s Journey. Apparently it wasn’t a joke, exactly. Both of these links are to student efforts. Both are successful to limited degrees. Unfortunately, the more successful one is also cut short of the whole journey.

That said, here are two independent dance takes on interpreting the Hero’s Journey:

Another more formal treatment of the journey aimed at video game design is this one in two parts from Extra Credits. They dissect a specific recent video game and demonstrate how it not only follows the structure set out by Campbell, but it also makes the player experience the journey first-hand. There may be very few other artistic media where it is possible to engage the audience in the process of character development that deeply.

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Hero’s journey explained by puppets

One of the more detailed theories of story construction is the Monomyth first described by Joseph Campbell, and often also called The Hero’s Journey.

It is the simple idea that many great stories share a common collection of archetypes which may be characters, objects, or even part of the landscape of the story.

Here is an entertaining summary of the theory, summarized skillfully by Fafa of Glove and Boots.