April Fools Day (or is it every day?)

In honor of April Fool’s Day, remember this song we used to sing as kids?
Well, it’s fun, but I think it needs a little updating. So here goes (same tune):

Let’s stop funding science ‘cuz it doesn’t pay,
APRIL FOOL, APRIL FOOL.
Stop saying “climate change” and it will go away,
APRIL, APRIL FOOL!

Paul Ryan is talking and he’s making sense,
APRIL FOOL, APRIL FOOL.
He’s showing compassion just like Mike Pence,
APRIL, APRIL FOOL!

Refrain:
Look out the window, what do you see?
Lotsa live blossoms on the cherry tree
I fool you, and you fool me
‘Cause this is April Fools’ Day

His hair isn’t orange like a tangerine,
APRIL FOOL, APRIL FOOL.
He’ll be the best president we’ve ever seen,
APRIL APRIL FOOL!

I’m not gonna look on Facebook anymore,
APRIL FOOL, APRIL FOOL.
I took my iPhone, pitched it out the door,
APRIL, APRIL FOOL!

(Refrain)

The dumbos in Congress gave the donkeys a kiss,
APRIL FOOL, APRIL FOOL.
You can’t ever sing a silly song like this,
‘cept every day’s a FOOL’S DAY!
APRIL APRIL FOOL!

What is “ideaphoriana” anyway?

idea journal pic 020115
When the ideas keep coming, you have to figure out what to do with them somehow…

In case you were wondering about the origin of this blog’s title, here’s an explanation.

Ideaphoriana” is a term I created to describe a curated collection of ideas that I’ve generated, and someone who does this can be called an ideaphorian.  Both words derive from the concept of ideaphoria, which I first encountered over 20 years ago at the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (JOCRF) as part of a career aptitude/retooling process. (Longer story there, but one for a future post.) Their definition of ideaphoria is a simple one: the ability to produce ideas quickly. It can be thought of more broadly as the “capacity for creative thought or imagination“, but I think another definition more accurately captures the feeling: as “an experience where one feels a constant onslaught of new ideas, creating a euphoric state of idea creation.”

Learning about ideaphoria was an ‘aha’ moment — a recognition that yes, this is me — so the term instantly resonated with me and has been a part of my personal identity ever since. Even though the term was coined at least 70 years ago (Johnson O’Connor wrote a book about it back in 1945), it still feels new and forward-looking to me.

That’s partly because ideaphoria is like having your own personal fountain of youth — a never-ending stream of ideas that seems to gush forth eternally.  This is both a blessing and a curse, of course; having a “constant onslaught of new ideas” does indeed often create a “euphoric state” of creation, but it also makes it damn hard to sleep at times — like this morning for instance when I’ve been up since 4am because those ideas just wouldn’t shut up.

If you have this happy affliction, how to manage it?  Some of us carry around idea journals like the one in the picture above, and we fill them with notes and diagrams and other scribbles. The one I’m currently using is a book published by colleague and creativity maven Kathy Kegley, and it’s been well used, as its dog ears attest. I’d be curious to hear how others handle the process — although at the moment I’m too occupied with other ideas to focus on it.

The whole notion that the ideas in one’s mind are out of control is a bit curious really — it is happening in my mind, after all, so aren’t I the one in charge here?  In practice, I’d say yes and no — sometimes the onslaught of ideas is so torrential that it takes a lot of effort to shut them off (or at least out). This morning, for instance, I found myself thinking that the ideas were like noisy neighbors in an apartment building: you can go over and tell them to tone it down, but that doesn’t mean they actually will.  Some mornings I eventually make it back to sleep (although this morning wasn’t one of them).

I also wonder if having ideaphoria is like having tinnitus (which in turn makes me wonder if there’s a connection between the two? more ideas again): there are certainly many moments where I don’t hear my tinnitus, I lose awareness of it, and I start to wonder if it’s gone; but when it gets quiet, it’s always there — which is true of both the noise of tinnitus and the flow of ideas.

So this blog is another way to manage the flow — cultivate, curate, grow some of them to fruition. No doubt one reason this morning’s ideaphoria woke me up was because I’d just created this blog, and it was as if the ideas started lining up early, waiting for the store or ticket office to open. But the gardening metaphor is more apt: there are more ideas than can possibly be developed, and many others that never see the light of day or germinate. Yet like the impulse of life itself to create more life, the ideas keep coming. Yesterday I had no ideas in mind for blog topics, so I was surprised at first how many ideas developed while I was half asleep in the predawn darkness. But not really surprised: because that’s how ideaphoria works…

Welcome to ideaphoriana!

This is a place for me to reminisce about my past, create my present, and imagine my future. My intent is to chronicle, archive, and entertain along the way. I’ve wanted to create a personal blog for some time now, and finally here it is!

Over the coming weeks and months, I anticipate developing several themes, including:

  • Ten Years After — imagining my life and the world as I want it to be ten years from now (= 2025)
  • The ‘1000 Things’ Project — chronicling a project I did last year to examine our relationship with things and the hold they have on us through the process of decluttering my house, one thing at a time (or sometimes more)
  • Wayback Machine — telling stories from my past before I forget them — Throwback Thursdays, Flashback Fridays, Wayback Wednesdays, you name it.

I will also be using this blog as a place to experiment and learn more about how to engage as a cultural creative through social media, content production, and interaction with you, the reader(s), and whoever may be interested.

In the process, I hope to learn things here that I can apply to my professional and writing life, but the main focus will be personal — a place to remember, reflect, and reimagine.  Here we go…