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Entries in creative writing (3)


100 Years Later the Imagination of John Martin Still Delights

Meet one of my favorite Creative Heroes. Morgan van Roorbach Shepard had a lonely life in the 1870s. He was orphaned at 9 and raised in a series of American boarding schools where he was an outcast. Yet he believed in the power of creativity (whether he knew the word as we mean it or not), and he believed in the potential of children's minds.

Later he renamed himself John Martin, honoring a colony of Martin birds he enjoyed watching as a child, and began writing and illustrating children's stories and verse. In 1908 he founded an imaginative publication called John Martin's Letters, which he mailed to 2000 children each month. 

By 1913 the letters had grown into a popular children's magazine, John Martin's Book, which continued through 1933.

WORDS AND PICTURES – These stylish, whimsical silhouettes with accompanying verses were characteristic of the illustrations in John Martin's Books.

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What We Can Learn About Creativity This Flu Season

Artist Brian McKenzie depicts amazing Animalcules that are his “purely imagined beings.” Image ©Brian McKenzie. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.The holidays are over, but it’s still the season—of the flu.

After Jan. 1, “Season’s Greetings” takes on a whole other meaning, and not a friendly one either.

Our natural world provides us with endless beauty, from the grand mountains to perfect little rosebuds, from magnificent orca whales to exquisite little ladybugs.

Flu viruses are Mother Nature’s children, too. Yes, they’re nasty and we should avoid them as best we can, but in the spirit of creativity (flexibility of thought, open-mindedness, and seeing new perspectives) viruses, bacteria, and other microscopic creatures on Earth are visually aesthetic. There’s a whole life system we can’t see with our naked eyes but it’s as stunningly intricate and beautiful as anything else in our natural world.

Microscopic life was first discovered by Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) in the mid 1600s. He called the organisms he saw “Animalcules.” His story is one of passion and the spirit of creativity.

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Knowledge is Power but Dreamers Shape the World

Stop and look around at any given moment and you see what startling advances we enjoy. To be surrounded by such accomplishments we must think to ourselves how much people must need to know to be able to create so many marvelous things. And, yes, it’s true that knowledge is the building block upon which great achievements are made. But it takes something else, as well.

Knowledge is the foundation of achievement, but the formula doesn’t add up without one essential ingredient: creative thinking. Creativity blossoms in fields of knowledge. Knowledge + Creative Thinking = Achievement.

Creative thinking is rarely addressed in school, yet it is the number one factor that distinguishes our great achievers from the ordinary in every field. Combined with knowledge, creativity works wonders.

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