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Touch Phone Home

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Want a low stress completely free way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your day? Seven years ago, I made a commitment to include more creative thinking in my life. I joined a creativity support group called The 52 Project operated by Sue Mitchell and the Riverside Art Museum. The purposeful inclusion of more creative activity into my day has been life affirming.

But you don’t need to join a new club or drive somewhere or download an app to be more creative this year. You just need a little nudge to get you into a creative space more often.

Meet me back here every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a “TPS” creative prompt.

Ready for the first TPS activity? Using touch, our first prompt explores our cell phone from the comfort of our home or office.

Grab your phone. If it is already in your hand, you just saved a step. Lightly touch all the buttons, identify the power button, and turn off your cell phone. Power off your phone. Note: if you are reading this on your phone, please read to the end, then power down. Thank you.

How often is your hand in this position with your phone, shut off mode? Hold the device in your palms as it shuts down. What do you feel? Some shudder violently and others go quiet so fast you wonder if they are really gone. Resist the urge to turn your phone back on to check that you turned it off.

Run your fingers lightly along the sides and surfaces of your phone. No matter which team you play for, Android or IOs, there are six sides to explore. Which side’s most interesting and which one bores your fingers to the cuticle? Notice the places that are smooth and the parts that are not. Are there places on your phone that used to be smooth but are now scratched or worn? Think about the story one of those scratches could tell. By touch only, could you spot this one in a drawer?

For the rest of the exercise, think about other uses for an unpowered cell phone. Could you use it for another purpose? Tiny snack tray for a guinea pig? Can you use the reflective surface to start a fire? How many would you need to build a doghouse and who would buy such a thing?

Once you’ve figured out how to tell seven minutes went by, continue with your day. There’s no goal, but if you think a few funny thoughts because of this exercise, take the win. Any day that includes a little creative thinking is a good day.