Journal Prompts for this week

Journal Prompts for this week

Reading and journal prompts books on shelves Make a cuppa and take a break for a few moments. I have a few articles of interest to share. Each holds an interesting tit bit and all make good jumping off points for a written journal entry. I often use this sort of reading matter as a journal prompt.

One of the topics that is an ongoing reading project which is driven by the question “What makes a person creative?”

Following this interest I came across Leonardo da Vinci: How to See the World Like Nobody Else by Zat Rana who is summarising Walter Isaacson’s ideas explored in his book Leonardo da Vinci. (In fact, as result of this article, I purchased a copy which I am reading now – so possibly more about the book at another date.)

A few key points drew my attention. The first point “Observe Without Predefined Distinctions” re-enforced what I call following a curious nose and allowing yourself to move across disciplines. Specialisation, corralling our thoughts into patterns that classify and compartmentalise ideas has always been something that I feel works counter to creativity. Leonardo da Vinci moved across disciplines with ease.

At one stage, I taught a course on Studio Journaling and constantly tried to convince students simply to put everything together in one book. However, there was always someone who wanted to have separate books for different projects or sections of a book for different projects. As time goes on, there is more evidence that there are real benefits to cross-disciplinary thinking. One idea bounces off another. I call it the ‘compost theory’ – basically meaning: toss everything in together and let it produce a rich mix.

The second point, I call celebrating the everyday. Leonardo da Vinci asked questions about everything – even the mundane. His curiosity seemed to touch on all things – the big questions in life and the little. As Zat Rana points out:

The thing they overlook, however, is that what is uninteresting and even obvious on the surface may just hold an undiscovered treasure when explored in depth. Very few things are interesting on the surface. Often, we have to make them interesting by digging into them.

There is more in this article that provides journal fodder and ideas to tease out, but I think you will enjoy exploring that.

I encountered a piece in Aeon by Vincenzo Di Nicola – Slow Thought: a manifesto. I am sure most readers will have encountered the Slow Movement – Slow food, Slow Travel, Slow Fashion etc. These ideas are memes that involve slowing down to focus on doing something in a slower, simpler, more meaningful and socially responsible manner. Most of these ideas I generally embrace. By this, I mean I agree with those ideas, but I am not fanatical about them. But Slow thought? It sounds a bit dimwitted to me. I understand what Vincenzo Di Nicola is trying to say, and I like the ideas that drive it, but I don’t like the term.

So I thought about what might be a better fit for the way I engage with the world. At first, I came up with an “examined life” but felt that sounded too judgemental and somehow harsh – as though we would be tested on it later. Then I thought about the idea of a Considered Life. I felt that this suited me more and I liked the link with the word consideration. A consideration for others points to the social aspect of the idea. I realise the meanings are similar and I am being picky about words, but words can influence how an idea is embraced and taken up.

As a side thought on this topic, I decided that one of the reasons I journal is this idea of taking time to consider an action or event – as a meme I am sure the term Slow will take on another meaning but for the moment it’s a Considered life for me.

The last article Why Reading Books Should be your Priority According to Science comes from Christina DesMarais and reinforces the idea that having a reading habit – reading books – is good for you. According to research, readers are more open-minded and creative and live longer. These claims are backed up by ideas that make for an interesting read. Particularly the Yale Researchers study which I dug out because I could not see how reading and longevity could be connected.

Anyway, that’s it for the moment all of these articles – and the ideas that have spun off from them – have found their way into my journal. I thought I would share them with you. I hope you enjoy them!

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