I’ve been thinking lately about how much of my job revolves around finding new things rather than coming up with new ideas. It’s entertaining, but it makes me nostalgic for the old days when I was married and we were so broke that — well, just take my word for it. We were sooo broke. My husband was low on the totem pole in the Navy, and libraries saved my sanity and gave me a sanctuary from a very bad marriage. But more than that, they were playgrounds for my brain. All I did was read and wonder and do amateur research and go on a 10 year self-education journey. I read indiscriminately, widely and innocently. Classics, bodice rippers, history, biographies — it was one big cultural mash-up, just like my desk and mood board. I want to get that fervor back and reclaim my beginner’s mind. Before Barnes and Noble, I used to hit the library once a month and have an afternoon binge on all the new magazines. Now I just buy them, and it’s not as much fun. I want to learn with some of the same hunger I used to have then, even though “that was in another country, and besides the wench is dead.” I can’t go back to my original blank-slate state, so it’s an extra challenge to find ways to rekindle that passion for knowledge, innovation, fresh ideas. I stumbled across an interesting blog entry today about Overcoming Creative Block and it gave me some notions to try out. One of the things I want to do is leave the office to walk around streets I usually drive by and take photos. Every day I pass an abandoned store that seems to have some taxidermied animals in the window draped in glitter cloth. Is it a mirage or some weird tableau?! I need to get out of the car and find out, and I need to do more reading outside my comfort zone like I used to do. Because the more you pack into your brain, the greater chance that one of those serendipitous leaps of the imagination will occur, with your mind connecting the dots on its own while you sleep or daydream or wander around. I’m going to put myself back in a school for one — re-educating Nikki.