Creative Spark

I must confess that it still astounds me how, in this day and age and in the comfort of my own home here in the Netherlands, internet connectivity and the various social media venues it has spawned allow me to maintain contact with friends and family and build associations with others.

Like the old Bell telephone ad campaign showed us, it’s never been easier to ‘reach out and touch someone’.

Except how often do we do it by phone anymore? Not when we can text or email or interact via social media.

You want to realize the power of internet connectivity?

Consider this: I am able to Skype with my elderly parents who aren’t on social media sites; get news highlights, touch base with fellow writers around the globe, and reconnect with a different cousin on Twitter; grow a professional presence while seeing what my aunt is up to on LinkedIn; marvel at the ultrasound pictures of my niece’s first baby, ‘chat’ for a moment or two on the odd occasion I can catch either Son at college or my nephew currently deployed in Afghanistan, see the photos of the latter’s growing little girl posted by his wife, and stay in touch with my siblings privately on family matters – all on Facebook.

The access to information of all sorts offered by global connectivity is staggering. Want to know something, anything? Simply type in a few letters and check a search engine.

‘Look it up in the encyclopedia or dictionary’ was the usual response when someone would ask a question in my parents’ generation.

Nowadays the answer has changed to ‘Google it’. Encyclopedias themselves are online,  joined by gazillions of pieces of other information and trivia.

Yes, gazillions is a technical term for ‘lots and lots’. Google it if you don’t believe me.

Instantaneous access to news and information can’t help but stretch our minds, widen our vistas and broaden our perspectives.

How did I happen to get on this roll? It all began so innocently earlier today. I was over on Facebook, sipping my koffie and catching up.

I read about a North Carolina friend and teacher’s jam-packed, exhaustingly productive day; caught an inspirational quote from my cousin in South Carolina; saw the latest paintings from a relative in upstate New York; checked in on the progress of Matt Krause now six days into his eight month walk across Turkey; learned how very different Matt’s breakfast was from the more whimsical one shared by an expat friend and well regarded marketing coach for entrepreneurs; and learned the latest on the burgeoning musical career in London of another friend’s extremely talented lead singer/songwriter rocker chick daughter.

That was all before I saw new family photos from one fellow writer/blogger, ace alliterator and cyber friend in Canada, and the latest post from another.

The latter woman is someone I’ve come to know fairly well. For some time we were both part of a four-way monthly virtual blog from the four corner of the earth (quite literally: Japan, Australia, Canada and here in Nederland).

A few years ago and you couldn’t even have a ‘virtual’ four-way blog!

A fan of each other’s work, we’ve ‘known’ each other for quite some time. We’ve shared work leads and professional contacts. She interviewed me for a magazine article she wrote last year.

We’ve even had a Skype conversation, our updates on current writing projects and potential future collaborations bleeding over into the personal realm of children heading off to university and illness in our respective families.

We were all set to finally ‘meet’ face-to-face when she was here in the Netherlands for a business trip recently, and would have if not for some sudden developments on her end.

How could any of that happen if not for our connected world?!

Nowadays, we share bits and pieces of ourselves, in our writing and online. Never quite the totality of our lives as we might eventually offer in person with family and best friends, but certainly more than with acquaintances and polite strangers.

Over time, more and more of our true selves is revealed, and we see insights into each others lives. We see what moves us, inspires us, the local and global issues and causes that preoccupy us.

Once again, we have technological advances in connectivity to thank. And these interactions with others in our ever-widening circles can’t help but spark creativity as a result.

Creativity in what we observe, what we learn, what we think about and what we do.

Back at Facebook, I scrolled down the screen and clicked on the link offered by yet another talented writer/blogger friend sharing his foray into Vizify, a new social media venue that connects your interactions on other sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. and then displays it visually in a ‘graphical bio’.

He and I often share info and thoughts about writing, social media and minimizing time/maximizing connections, so it was with an open mind that I perused his Vizify bio and got a sense of how it all worked before sharing a comment on my initial feedback.

Yes, we have to be vigilant not to spend more time in a cyber world than living in the real world.

I can be awed by photos of Mother Nature’s majesty, but not at the expense of getting out and enjoying the waves crashing on the sandy beach of the North Sea or the softly filtered light that inspired some of the greatest painters of all time.

But once again I was taken aback by the sheer innovation and creative genius of visionaries such as the creators of endeavors such as Vizify, apps, products, websites.

Cutting edge today, possibly gone tomorrow. Or gone mainstream, used by millions. (Gazillions if they’re really lucky.)

Who knows how the roll of the dice will turn out? I just love the entrepreneurial and inventive spirit, seeing what people are thinking, working on, dreaming of.

Then I happened on the little gem below, tagged by a dear friend of a few decades years.

She herself is one of the most creative people I know: adept at design, fashion, art, writing (a children’s book published in Germany), philanthropy (founding a local charity, fantastic at fundraising), community activism and various other forms of culture.

In her ever-evolving entrepreneurial artistic life, this imaginative and talented painter of highly sought after oils has expanded into jewelrymaking and a job as the Deputy Director of a new regional art center.

Watch the Netherlands Radio Choir, and I dare you to not feel the tugs of creativity pulling deep within.

My mind is buzzing, the synapses firing on all cylinders and ideas flying.

All it takes is a little spark…



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