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Sunday 16:00-16:30, repeated Thursday 16:00-16:30, except first Sunday in the month when it is replaced by Book Club.
Open Book spotlights new fiction and non-fiction, picks out the best of the paperbacks, talks to authors and publishers, and unearths lost masterpieces.
Creativity Exercises
Sunday 30 July 2006
Listen to this programme in full
How creative are you?

Here are six quick exercises

How many smaller words can you create out of the word 'encyclopaedia'?

2. How many uses can you think of for a flowerpot?

3. Imagine the building you are sitting in right now, but upside down. How would you get from the top to the bottom? What would happen to the cupboards? How would you get in?

4. How many times today have you made a creative decision?

5. Consider the following items: a metal bedstead, a broken coat-hanger, three bottles of beer, a fire alarm sounding, a dog barking. What is going on? Whose room is this and what has just happened? Who is there?

6. Go to the dampest place in your home or place of work (this maybe the garage, a deep cupboard, or the basement). Inhale deeply and then imagine what individual elements make up the smell. Try to list all the constituent parts, and to write them down as quickly as possible.

Feedback on the exercises

exercise 1

The creative mind starts spotting the obvious choices and then developing strategies for how to find more (first letter and second, first letter and third, first letter and fourth etc).

exercise 2

The creative mind will find many alternative uses that are not immediately apparent - as a hat, a stepping stone, a strengthened fist etc. They will also tend to redefine the question, thus asking whether it is a plastic or terracotta one, and of what size?

exercise 3

The creative mind will not be put off by the apparent illogicality of the scenario suggested and will work away at coming to understand the new arrangements. It will also spot some interesting side effects (the white ceilings would quickly get dirty as people walked on them).

exercise 4

Whereas the initial response may be not even once; the creative mind will look for opportunities for choice where some creativity was exercised such as what to wear, which mug to choose for a drink, how to arrange toast on a plate and what kind of route to take to work.

exercise 5

The creative mind relishes this kind of challenge, will engage and come up with a response to how these disparate items are connected. What is more, their imagined union will quickly seem so real that the individual will come to believe the linkage really happened.

exercise 6

Our sense of smell is often much more acute than we realise; most of us take it for granted. And if you concentrate and write quickly, accessing a flow of consciousness, you will probably be surprised at how much emerges from casual observation.

In response to all these exercises, the creative mind will go on working on the problems set, whether consciously or subconsciously, long after the time frame has elapsed.

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