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Today I give you some positive news because frankly you need it.

Basic Instructions


Long time readers of this blog remember I was trying to help cartoonist Scott Meyer develop a syndicated comic strip. He already has a comic called Basic Instructions that is popular on the web, but its format and characters aren't a natural fit with mainstream newspapers. And while newspaper syndication didn't work out, Scott just came out with a book that is a collection of his comics. I have a copy, and it is pure genius. Check it out.

http://www.amazon.com/Help-Way-Collection-Basic-Instructions/dp/1593079958

The web site is here: www.basicinstructions.net/

Voice Update

In July I had surgery to fix my voice issue. For 3.5 years I have had spasmodic dysphonia, a condition where the vocal cords squeeze shut involuntarily when you try to talk. The projected recovery time from the surgery is 3-4 months, while the transplanted nerves in the neck regenerate. I was told that after a few months of only being able to whisper, the new nerve pathway would finally be complete, and one day I would wake up with a voice.

It happened this week.

I don't yet have a full voice, and I still can't talk above much background noise, but it's a real voice. Unlike before, it is fully functional. For the first time in years I can use the telephone, and order food at a restaurant and be heard. It will take several more months for the voice to become essentially normal. I am delighted.

Creativity


Recently I was asked if human creativity is nearing its limits. It seems as if every idea has already been done. Regular readers of this blog know that every time I describe what I think is a new idea, someone provides a link to an earlier description of the same idea.

I don't think creativity is coming to an end. I think creativity is increasing at an increasing rate, and always will.

Creativity is generally a combination of existing ideas. If there were only two concepts in the universe, creativity would be "What happens if we put them together?" If you add a third and fourth concept to the universe, the number of creative combinations shoots up.

The Internet allows you to check the originality of your idea quickly, so it sometimes seems that all the good ideas have been taken. But the Internet also seeds us with many more concepts than we would otherwise be exposed to. Humans are like distributed computing for creativity. The Internet and the media and our daily lives dump huge volumes of raw concepts into our heads and we process and combine things until something new feels right.

Worrying comes from predicting the future on a straight line, imagining trouble increasing at some established pace. But the real future comes in leaps and bounces, with creative solutions expanding faster than problems. I believe this is some sort of fundamental law of the universe, that solutions will always outpace problems.

Take a deep breath. You're going to be fine. Someone, somewhere, just thought of an idea that will fix everything. And you couldn't stop it if you tried.

 
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Oct 10, 2008
Glad to hear your voice is back Scott. congratulations. Was wondering about that a couple of days ago :)
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Congratulations Scott! It's so good to hear about your voice!
 
 
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Oct 10, 2008
With regards to the "collective" intelligence of the internet, remember - "resistance is futile"...
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 10, 2008
I'm glad you got your voice back, but with that blessing comes an awesome responsibility.

You must now Inhale some helium, then call your doctor, and in your best Munchkin voice, tell him you're going to sue him.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 10, 2008
Scott, the only thing that would have been cooler than your voice coming back after the surgery is if the surgery involved stem cells from your testicles. See:

http://tinyurl.com/4rea68
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Scott - so pleased to hear that you have your voice back. Excellent news.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 10, 2008
double congrats! and wish me luck next week
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Congrats on getting your voice back. That's very good news.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 10, 2008
I was watching your video on amazon.com about creating the strip, thinking it would be nice if you actually TOLD us what you were doing. I forgot you had voice problems...sorry.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 10, 2008
Congrats on your surgery and thanks for the positive look on creativity.

Really.. it made me almost tear up alittle. Except i am at the office so that's not a viable option ;)
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Thanks for the hypno-therapy, Scott. You were right, I definitely needed it today. And I do feel better now.
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
And in the search for creativity, when your speech problems were at their worst, did you never think of investing in a Stephen Hawking type voice box?

And the Scott Meyer toons seem to have improved since the last time I looked - maybe your advice has done something - he seems to have found a workable format for his voice.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 10, 2008
Fantastic news about your voice! It's great to hear the surgery was a success. My day really needed some good news. Thanks.
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
OK Pollyanna, I'll buy it.
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Great news about your voice! Congrats!
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Knowing that you're gradually getting your voice back is indeed good news Scott. Congrats.
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Scott, that is totally great that you've gotten your voice back!!

You're right. That "creativity is disappearing" stuff is horse potatoes. It reminds me of when people used to say things like, "Well, we have mules pulling our plows and the ability to churn butter. Guess technology has reached its limits!"

I don't really remember that. But I think people used to say it.

 
 
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Oct 10, 2008
Wow I needed that. Thank you! And I'm really glad to hear that your surgery did the trick!
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Scott,

I think I have a good example of what you're talking about. My wife is a graphic artist, and has been creating mural-like history maps for organizations for quite some time. I made a video of her making one of these maps. This one is 35 feet long and 4 feet tall. You can see the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK0IGfKuRCQ

A while ago, I showed the video to a friend of mine who happened to be getting married. After watching it, and showing it to her friends, she asked if my wife could do a history map for her wedding, showing the history of her and her husband, and their relationship. Lo and behold, combining the history map idea with people getting married started a whole new facet of her career! She now does history maps for weddings, anniversaries, graduation, life !$%*!$%*!$% and many other things.

Two ideas combining to form something new. This idea never existed before, and now it does.

Jimmy
 
 
Oct 10, 2008
Congrats' on your voice!

Mostly I am writing to thank you for the positive blog post this morning. Lately all of the doom and gloom in media is inescapable and the occasional hopeful blog post does make a difference to my morning and day.

Hugs,
Lolita
 
 
 
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