Sunday, 25 December 2011

Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers

Another fine book from Oliver Jeffers to trigger the niece and nephew's imaginations and propel some funny "how"s and "why"s :)> The pictures as with all Oliver Jeffers' books are five-star and as self-explanatory as can be. And a good array of items and animals and objects that feature in the book (and get stuck in the tree!) to introduce the kids to. With the niece (aged 6) I ask questions like "what should he have done with the saw" or "how should he have used the ladder", and with the nephew (aged 3) as we progress through the story he counts the number of things stuck in the tree (and with each reading recollects more names). Good story and well-executed.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A Technique for Producing Ideas, by James Young

Nice little book. Padded with extras at the beginning and end because the core advice itself - the five steps that lead to a good idea - is so short and probably wouldn't justify a book because of its shortness!.. but in terms of content: highly highly recommended reading for all. You won't look at 'ideas' the same again.

A summary of the fives steps that lead to good ideas...

First: gather the raw materials;
the old existing elements related to your topic at hand.

Second: work over these raw materials
trying to bring the old elements into new combinations,
looking to find relationships,
trying consciously to produce a new idea or application.
Keep going, persist,
endure beyond tiredness
until you reach the hopeless stage,
until everything is a jumble in your mind with no clear insight anywhere.

Third: the incubating mental digestive stage.
Turn the problem over to your subconscious mind,
dropping it as completely as you can,
to do the synthesis while you distract yourself elsewhere.

Fourth: the birth of the idea.
The "Eureka! I have it" stage.
Out of nowhere the idea will appear
when cooking or bathing or in the middle of the night;
when you least expect it.

Fifth and final: the shaping and adapting of the idea
with others
with patience
to practicality.
Taking your newborn idea into the world of reality.
And when you do,
you'll find it not quite the complete and marvellous child it seemed when you first gave birth to it.
Indeed don't make the mistake of holding your idea close to your chest.
Submit it to the criticism of the judicious.
A good idea after all has self-expanding qualities;
possibilities that you overlooked will come to light.

Monday, 5 December 2011

First show of snow

Went out for Fajr and didn't spot a thing,
got up and out for work a couple hours later
and noticed the hills to my left were covered in snow!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Eglantine Avenue, Belfast

The hills in view
stepping out of my room,
crossing the road,
looking to my left,
feeling seduced.