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Worth Noting

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

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back 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 nudge.

Last week we infused some minty freshness into several minutes of creative contemplation. Did the experience spark a childhood memory? Maybe you were nudged into the kitchen for some culinary inspiration…was I the only one that surprised their family with a stack of spearmint pancakes? Whatever you made, I hope it left behind a pleasant aftertaste to color various parts of your day.

This week’s creative exploration turns to a ubiquitous yet often overlooked tool of organization, creativity, and spontaneous art: the Post-it Note. I keep several scattered around my computer. I scribble when I write, so finding these days later and trying to read them is a creative (but often futile) exercise in itself. 

Found in a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes, and sizes, these sticky squares of possibility are more than mere reminders or placeholders; in our powerful little hands, they are mini canvases, messages about our thoughts and the geographies of our imaginations. This week, we invite our creative impulses to play within the bounds of these small yet expansive spaces, engaging in a multi-sensory experience that bridges the visual and the tactile.

Each Post-it Note, with its gentle adhesive backing and vibrant hue, is a call to action—a nudge towards creativity that demands we pause, ponder, and produce, even in the smallest of measures. Let’s take a moment right now, and compose ourselves creatively with one or more of these momentary distractions:

  1. Mind Mapping: Use Post-it Notes of various colors to create a mind map. Let each color represent a different theme or aspect of your life—dreams, daily tasks, memories, or aspirations. This exercise not only visualizes the complex tapestry of your thoughts but also engages you in a playful dance of categorization and display.
  2. Sensory Storyboard: Choose a short story or poem and represent it visually using only Post-it Notes. Assign different sensory experiences to different colors—blue for sound, pink for touch, yellow for sight, etc. This activity blends the visual and the narrative, challenging you to think abstractly about how we experience stories.
  3. Post-it Origami: Engage in the tactile joy of folding by attempting simple origami. Whether it’s a basic shape like a heart or something more complex, notice how the feel of the paper and the act of folding engage your senses differently than writing or sticking notes does. Share your creations in a place you’ll see them regularly.
  4. Treasure Hunt: Hide an object and then lay out clues on a series of Post-it Notes. Send someone on a colorful quest using clues and riddles or just arrows pointing the way. Making something fun for others to discover can be even more fun that making something just for ourselves.

As we delve into these activities, let’s remember that creativity often thrives within constraints. The modest size of a Post-it Note challenges us to distill our thoughts, refine our ideas, and crystallize our creative impulses into tangible form. In doing so, we discover the profound power of the minuscule, the strength of the succinct, and the beauty of brevity.

Wrapping Up the Week

Let this week’s foray into the world of Post-it Notes serve as a reminder that creativity doesn’t require vast canvases or endless supplies. Sometimes, all it takes is a small square of sticky paper to unlock new dimensions of our imagination. As you engage with these exercises, notice not just the outcome but the process—the feel of the paper, the sight of the colors, the planning and placement of each note. These are the moments where creativity breathes, grows, and thrives. May your week be filled with colorful insights.

This column written with the help of a customized GPT from OpenAI. If I can make one, so can you!