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Posts Tagged ‘Minneapolis

Minneapolis from the Prospect Park Witch’s Hat Water Tower

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Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 5, 2016 at 9:22 pm

On Creating: “Hello Problem, Please Sit with Me”

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From Distraction to Focus

We stare at the problem until we can’t think straight. And when blood runs from our ears, then we have just begun.

This quote from a Minneapolis copywriter describes the creative process that drives his role in the industry. What does it take to come up with a creative solution that is beyond the first 5, 10 or 20 thoughts that pop into anyone’s head? What is creativity, anyway, and why should I care?

  • First the bad news: creativity requires deep focus.
  • And now the good news: you are capable of deep focus.
"Look Again: Expanding Feminist Possibilities," Groot Gallery, St. Olaf College

“Look Again: Expanding Feminist Possibilities,” Groot Gallery, St. Olaf College

In our age of near constant distraction, how does anyone slip into the focus-cave? How does anyone keep distraction at bay, apply sustained attention, and lose track of time in the process? It turns out there are solid answers to those questions. Those answers arrive from a mix of personal experience from people who create regularly, from a bit of theory, and then from experimentation with what works for you.

One thing is certain about focus: it can bring a healing wholeness with it. Just ask any person who regularly creates, and hear them talk about “flow” or the zone or getting into that space of just doing it.

Creating is not for the faint of heart. Because to create is to dwell with ambiguity: could be this. Could be that. If you change this piece—or flip the entire story or image—everything looks different and maybe even makes more sense. Very little is defined when creating and, in fact, you are doing your own defining

A group of students and I have turned a corner this week. We’ve gone from feeding the internet with content that builds communities to feeding creativity that can solve real-world problems. And just like when we work different muscles with cardiovascular versus weight training, this move from rapid creation to deep problem-solving wants a different set of brainwaves. We’re moving from intense listening and rapid creation to sitting with a problem and iterating our way out.

One of our bigger tasks is to train ourselves not be satisfied with the first, easy solution. We’ll learn how to bend time and write fast while you still know nothing, and how to lift and separate and how to map your way around a problem and how to start at the top again and again. And how to grind through to get to a better solution.

But all that needs focus.

And focus means not picking your phone up for 60 minutes.

And that is a struggle.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Mythical Minneapolis

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Once every 100 years, you can almost see it.



Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

September 7, 2015 at 8:38 am

Northern Spark

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Eight hours and twenty-six minutes


Written by kirkistan

June 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

It’s All Good.

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Photo credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 5, 2015 at 9:16 am

Stone Arch: Extraordinary, Historic Power

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Flowing constantly beneath our heels


Day in. Day out. Always changing.

Do you notice?


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

Mommy, why do we electrify grandfather’s sarcophagus?

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Xcel Energy Tips for Dead Wood

Dear WOOD,



You used less than average, but 100% more energy than your efficient neighbors:


Tips for conserving electricity:

  • Turn off lights when you leave the room.
  • Turn off lights IF YOU ARE DEAD.

Please update your mailing address, as invoices mailed  to LAKEWOOD CEMETERY have been returned as undeliverable.

Find more energy-saving tips at Xcel Energy.


Image credits: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

May 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

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