In the spirit of 180° Thinking, I'd like to end this book at the beginning.
People often ask how long I've been practicing many of the habits and tools covered in this book. To be honest, I don't know.
I do know that I had some great early encouragement from my parents, particularly my mother. One story you'll like recalls the time my mom let my brother and me create our own wallpaper.
Like lots of boys growing up in the 1950s, we had cowboy wallpaper. I can vividly recall the classic images of various cowpokes in their leather chaps and broad-brimmed hats, alternating with images of cacti, horses, and the occasional three-rail fence.
I can also recall the graffiti brother Mike and I festooned on these innocent images. A wisecrack dialogue box here, an extra appendage there. (Did I mention we were, like, 12 and 13 years old?)
Well, my mom did what any mom would have done. Any mom who wanted to nurture the creativity in her children, that is. She said, "Boys, I'd like to do your walls over. But since we can't afford new wallpaper, particularly if you're going to continue defacing it, I'll paint the walls a neutral color and let you create your own wall covering." (Managers take note.)
So brother Mike and I went to town designing our own custom wallpaper. Well, we didn't design anything, really. In fact, this may have been where I learned the lesson to actually think through what you're going to create before you create it.
We had one drawing of our parish priest laid out in a coffin. (In actuality, he wasn't yet dead, which most definitely proved we had imaginations. It probably proved other things that only Freud could deduce.) We had a drawing of a teacher from school with his head in a guillotine. And these were the more positive images. (Only kidding.)
Is this a demonstration of creativity at an early age? Have I mentioned yet the correlation between creativity and dementia? Maybe that will be my next book.
I only wish we had taken pictures of that wall for documentation of my early training in this area of creative exploration.
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