Creativity: The Day Dream

photo cred: Daniel Coyle

Do you ever feel like you lack imagination? Not me hahaha. No this isn’t a post where I gloat about it. It is a post for me to justshare something that helped me in this aspect, especially regarding stories. It got to the point the that my IGCSE English teacher was forced to air her thoughts to my parents one consultation.

“Ayanda’s stories are too fantastic!” she yelled apparently.

Before you accuse me for providing pseudo-genuine information I vow it is all true. How can one’s story be too fantastic? Well, she didn’t mean it in it’s most positive connotation. My stories were so creative they were totally irrational and required a complete suspension of belief for anyone to thoroughly enjoy them. Not everyone could appreciate that, my teacher being one of them, so for me to start attaining A*s in the subject I humbled myself and reduced the imagination I used in my stories. How did I get to that stage in the first place? As a young boy I didn’t revel in time spent with those my age. This coincided with the time before my sibling could have fruitful, non-goobledygook conversations with me so I needed a way to entertain myself when I felt lonely. Often I would stand beside the house and dream up entire worlds, inserting myself in these dynamic stories as the protagonist, white-haired and dubbed Alex (my favourite name before I appreciated my own). My favourite time  of day was when my head hit the pillow. I would spend an hour or so every night reimagining whatever tv shows I would have watched that day with this fictional white-haired character that was simultaneously myself and someone else kicking ass and winning over the main female character. Kid me had game before he knew what attraction was! In the bath I’d close my eyes and picture things. In the car I would imagine a laser chopping all the long grass within view. I would then close my eyes when I encountered a person or vehicle – after all, I’m no murderer.

The brain works similar to a muscle in this, the more you use it the more capable it becomes in that area. Actively use your imagination as you day-dream and you’ll reap in creativity!

See you tomorrow for Creativity: Fullstop.

The Power Of Being Grateful

Well, if you’ve been keeping up with recent posts you’ll now know that comparison can lead to depression. It’s pretty simple really, we have access to the lives of many people now thanks to social media. Say one person is incredible at singing and you compare yourself (it’s only natural, no?) only to find that you aren’t as good. You are presented with a dilemma often leading to three pathways: acceptance (which for some reason we overcomplicate), ridicule (diminishing the person’s gift or hard work) and competition. The first, acceptance is perhaps the healthiest of the three. Now if you exhibit the other two what happens if you come into contact with more than one such person? What if you encounter a hundred people with a gift you don’t have? There is no way you can be the master of all trades, no one in the world has enough time for that. So the end result of trying on multiple hats that don’t fit you or ridiculing everyone you come into contact with? I’ll take a guess and use the B-word here – bitterness. However if you can accept that you can’t be as good as everybody else at everything else and hone your own craft, measuring up only to yourself – joy won’t be far away. Still there is another level even superior to acceptance – gratitude. Seeing the gifts of others and being grateful for them is some next level zen… stuff. It’s healthy for you on so many levels. If you can see the greatness in others and appreciate them for it, it is far easier for you to identify the things to appreciate in your own life. Also it has the potential to open doors for you since you develop the eyes to see talent. Once you adopt the mentality of:

‘I love what I see in you, I also love what I see in myself’

What can put you down? I challenge you to make an intentional decision to be grateful for the gifts of others, as well as for what has been deposited in you and see how it changes your life.

Personality

My dear readers. That “target” I talked about in my last post has been completed, mostly. As my thanks for reading my posts and giving me positive feedback I have decided to give you a little excerpt from one of the 17 pieces I’ve written. I laughed a lot while reading this, I hope you do too. Be inspired!


PERSONALITY

Alright, let’s do this.

You’re gonna fail.

No I’m not.

Jack looked around to check if anyone was nearby. He didn’t want anyone to witness what he was about to do in case it went awry. Private embarrassment he could take – but public humiliation was a whole other matter. He was pleased to see that no one else was in the cafeteria. Most people didn’t come to school during the summer break. They had lives to live and parents with lots of money to spend… or not, and instead they had to work odd jobs to help their family put bread on the table. Jack hated it when his thoughts went off track like this. It wasn’t his fault but he hated himself for it.

Focus!

With sweaty palms he slowly approached his long-term crush, the beautiful brunette called Emily. “Hey Emily,” Jack muttered as if half-afraid she would actually hear him.

Emily looked up from her book, a collection of short stories by O. Henry. She seemed puzzled, “Hey… sorry, do I know you?”

HAHAHA!

“Shut UP!”

Excuse me?” Emily did not sound pleased at all.

“Sorry… I wasn’t talking to you. I mean – hey, we are in the same Chemistry class. The Mad Cow is our teacher?” When he noticed her confused expression, one that easily gave away the fact that his words didn’t ring a bell, his soul was crushed. Jack nervously fidgeted with his spectacles. “I sit next to you. We’re lab partners.” Was he that unnoticeable?

“Oh… you! Hey! What’s up?” Emily smiled the awkwardness away, or tried to. Unfortunately for her, Jack had noticed that she hadn’t even used his name. She really didn’t know him at all. “How are you?”

“I’m alright actually. How are you?”

“I’m good…” she responded, curious to see where Jack was directing the conversation.

Awkward silence prevailed.

Aren’t you going to say something?

“It sure is very hot in the summer!”

Oh my God! What is wrong with me?

“I guess that’s how the season was differentiated from winter.” Emily smiled then glanced at her novel as if she was itching to read it again.

“I read O. Henry too. He is a brilliant writer.”

She perked up at that. “He’s amazing isn’t he? A shame he’s not around to write more stories.”

Happy to see a renaissance in the conversation Jack exuberantly exclaimed, “A real shame!”

And that was it. That was all he could say to his crush. The conversation didn’t go nearly as well as he’d hoped it would but there was no redeeming the situation because Emily had already started packing her bags.

“Well it was a real nice chat dude. I gotta go now. Stay awesome!”

Jack’s heart thumped like a rock band’s drums in the middle of a solo. Emily thought he was awesome!

You know she just said that because she’s nice right? Otherwise from that incredibly awful exchange even I would disown you.

You talk too much…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Education

Education is a key component in life – education is all important.

My parents managed to hammer this point home from before I could run. “Ayanda Joe Munikwa,” they would say, “you are a wise and intelligent young boy and if you apply your mind you will make it in life.” They haven’t ever stopped repeating those words… I haven’t stopped believing them.

Why do I consider education to be all important? Other than having been brought up with this ideology being drilled into me at school and at home nearly every waking hour – why would it matter? My hero, Nelson Mandela, considered education to be of prime importance and it is easy to see why. All of the things we do and hope to achieve require some form of education and life-threatening situations may have education called upon as well. For example: During the December (2014) holidays I had an encounter that I believe I will never forget. A young boy had been swimming in a hotel pool and his parents allowed themselves to become distracted by other things, after all, the young boy had floaters attached to him and the pool was nearly full of children. A few minutes later shouts erupted from the pool area and they found that the boy had been upended in the water and had silently drowned amidst all of those people. That was not where education came in. No one at the scene knew CPR. No one. The lifeguard, as his post was usually boring and he was only very rarely called upon, was drunk in some obscure corner of the hotel. That young boy died that night, had I known how to administer CPR at that time he would be living today, instead I left his life in the hands of a lifeguard who was not in complete command of all of his senses. I see that boy’s numb, lifeless face every time I near a pool.

-Excerpt from my Personal Statement (2015)

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Art

“Please don’t sing. Ever.”

Kimberly Munikwa, my sister.

(She wasn’t the only one. I too said that to myself when caught singing in public.)

I’m not moved by much. My attitude towards most things is the usual default enthusiasm associated with my character thus far. My likes are ubiquitous… but give me art. Then it’s a whole different ball game.

I used to think Art was just the class I averaged a D in high school. But it’s so much more than that. By definition, art is:

‘The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.’

Art has emotional power: in the form of music, paintings, literature, dance and a combination of all of these culminates into animation, movies, video games etc. This fascination with art isn’t unique to me either. Just glance at that list and you’ve got what the majority of humankind wants to do with its time, the majority of what humankind will spend money on.

And yet we scoff at Art majors…

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