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This archive will stay here - but you can find new posts (as well as this archive) at my new website which is at It's the new home for Stuart Eglin Online - including the blog, musings, and details of the publications and services which I have available. Take a look - it's worth a visit!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003

Poetry reading next week – it’s official!

I heard yesterday that I have been asked to do a poetry reading at my local poetry group next week. ‘First Thursday’ meet on the first Thursday of each month (there’s a surprise!) in my home town of Heswall in the North West of England.

I will read a few poems from the ‘Zen Words’ collection and perhaps a poem or two from the forthcoming collections that I am currently working on. I’m really excited about this – and a bit scared too! But then the adrenalin is always useful.

Things like this, coming out of the blue, are always good for motivation. I sent off some more booklets today, and have started to think about the third booklet from ‘blue water books’. I am still aiming to get this booklet out before Christmas.

As I write this I am listening to ‘Tour de France: Soundtracks’ by Kraftwerk. Wonderful stuff – even after all this time, they still stand years ahead of anyone else. Others rush to catch up. If you haven’t heard it and like early Kraftwerk, you ought to try to hear it as soon as you can. You can hear bits of it and see video clips at

Friday, 14 November 2003

Creativity as the enemy of productivity

Does Creativity get in the way of productivity? It can do. How do you ensure that spinning around various creative spirals doesn’t detract from the job that needs doing?

At the moment I am producing lots of creative ideas, and my thoughts are developing fast. But my actual productivity levels are quite low. I suppose that this must be part of a cycle of energy where the productivity comes in good time. For now, I just need to ensure that I make best use of the creative flows whilst they are there.

Current musical listening:

1. King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
2. Robert Fripp – November Suite
3. Can – Landed
4. Jan Garbarek – Rites
5. Burning Shed Sampler No. 2

A good broad range of music which oils the wheels of the thinking mind.

Next week is a really busy one – but I’ll try to drop in a couple of updates.

Friday, 7 November 2003

Whack it unpack it

I have had a pack of playing cards for a few years now that was created by Roger von Oech ( It is called a ‘Creative Whack Pack’ and I use it when I am a bit stuck in moving things forwards. For the last two days I have started the day by choosing a card to get the thinking going.

Yesterday’s card was “Set a Deadline” – something which I am experimenting with where I have things that need doing that lack external pressure to get them completed. Seems to be working!

Today’s card was “Change its Name”, which left me a bit confused at first. Not sure what use to make of this concept.

The text on the card reads:

“If an architect looks at an opening between two rooms and thinks “door”, that’s what she’ll design. But if she thinks “passageway”, she may design something much different like a “hallway”, “air curtain”, “tunnel” or perhaps a “courtyard”. Different words bring in different assumptions and lead your thinking in different directions.” What else can you call your idea?

Now, after a bit of thinking two things occurred to me:

1. A task which I am really struggling to get in touch with at the moment is redrafting my PhD thesis. It’s a painful task which I have told myself I don’t enjoy doing. By renaming it, I’m trying to change the allure of this task. It is now ‘Redesign’ the thesis. So, I am currently working on redesigning chapter nine – seems more enjoyable already, and it introduces concepts of redesign that didn’t occur to me in the job of drafting.
2. Change my name – not literally of course. But when you change jobs you have an opportunity to redefine yourself, and particularly to draw out parts of yourself that were submerged in the previous role. This means that I can draw out my creative side much more than previous. Be much more extravert about my creativity.

I’m going to continue with the Whack Pack approach through the working days of next week too, and see what it generates.

Whilst writing this, I am listening to ‘Space Groove’ by Projekct Two (an offshoot, R&D unit of King Crimson). I love this double album for its twiddling innovation. It takes a prolonged groove off into stellar depths. Great stuff!

Thursday, 6 November 2003

Creativity and Robert Fritz

Some time ago I read a book by Robert Fritz called ‘The path of least resistance’. It was a marvellous exposition of uses of creativity. I thoroughly enjoyed working through it.

Well, you often find yourself going around loops and back to where you started. At the moment I am reading Peter Senge’s ‘Fifth Discipline’ and in searching through associated websites on the net ( I noticed that Robert Fritz has worked with Senge. I then found a Fritz website ( and reference to a couple of new books by him. One is called ‘Creating’ and sounds fascinating. There is also a recently published book called ‘Your life as art’ which I’m keen to read too.

I’ll come back to these books once I have tracked them down and read them.

Meanwhile, in a couple of weeks I am going to a Workshop which will be run by an actor, looking at applications of creative techniques in work situations. I’m looking forward to this.

Today’s music:

Miles Davis – Double Image
Jack de Johnette – Dancing with Nature Spirits

And a fair amount of quiet too – ah, the sound of silence.

Wednesday, 5 November 2003

Transmission resumes – Miles Davis circa 1969

A gap for a little while, but it’s not because I’ve been doing nothing. The last few days for example, I have been listening to a stack of CDs from 1968 to 1970 which document the work of Miles Davis during that period. The music comes from:

1. The Complete ‘In a Silent Way’ Sessions (3 x CDs)
2. Double Image (Live in Paris, 1969)
3. The Complete ‘Bitches Brew’ Sessions (4 x CDs)

A vague calculation tells me that there is about 10 hours of music on these CDs. It’s an incredible documentation of an artist’s prolific creativity. The material on these CDs is startling, innovative, and takes jazz music in mind-blowing new directions. The ideas on these CDs are still subject to catch-up by a lot of music that has come since.

Of course, the musicians who are working with Miles Davis on these CDs are legendary – people like Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Dave Holland, Jack de Johnette. There are loads more too – a collective of musicians each contributing their own take on improvisation and composition.

It’s great music for working to, because the diversity of ideas stimulates productivity as I listen.

I’m impressed!

I suppose the thing that is so remarkable is the quality of the music that was left off the original albums.

In the world of literature, I am reading through ‘The Fifth Discipline’ by Peter Senge, which is mind-blowing in its approach to looking at systems in action. I’m experimenting with some of the ideas set out in the book. Fascinating!

The new job is providing endless creative opportunities. In a couple of weeks I’m going to a creativity workshop which will use improvisation as a teaching tool. Should be interesting and challenging too!

I feel like my brain is opening up at the moment, to a whole series of new possibilities. May the words, and the reports of the process flow out.