Mischievous Mal

a whimsical assortment of odds and edds topped with a dab of bohemian clutter and a side of mischief. an unabashed cabinet of curiosities by a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Killer Queen

Category: Creativity (page 1 of 2)

the menacing but sublime travails of the creative life



This is a beautifully written, captivating post written by a brilliant friend of mine, who will remain anonymous. He never ceases to amaze me with his breadth of knowledge and unremitting curiosity. I’m so grateful, honored, and fortunate that he reached out to submit this guest post.


I sat down to read a book the other day. Yes, a real, honest to goodness real book. No phone, no notifications, no email, or texting, or buzzing or beeping, just me and the book. One of my favorite lines from grad school is that books are like time machines. The author wrote it then, felt it then, and crafted it at a fixed time and space. Now, minutes, decades or centuries later, we connect through the text. I’m here, you’re there, yet as you read this we connect through the text, building a bridge that can’t be replicated in any other medium. Despite the migration to digital, printed text has the inherent capacity to engage readers much more powerfully than its late, great digital counterpart.  Sure, we can watch an old movie, but do we use our imaginations to fill in the blanks and bring it to life in a unique and memorable way? Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the most connected people I know, twittering and emailing literally every minute. But sometimes, it’s good to just sit back, smell the “book smell”, and get lost in another world.

Growing up, I could never stop reading. I would just go through every book on every shelf, and try to learn more about the big world. Outside of my little bubble were adventures, exploration, heroic feats, and a purpose, figuring out what you were meant to be doing. From the perspective of my mundane middle-class life, books had all the answers to escape into. I read it all, from the classics to pulp fiction and everything in between, hungry for more. I guess it’s inevitable that I grew up to do some writing of my own. Nothing fantastic, and most of it never to be read by another other than in my esoteric corner of academia, but out there nonetheless. Finally, I had something with my name on it, something I could look back and be proud of. True, more people read the cookbook I wrote than any of the academic work I’ve come up with, but I suppose that’s just par for the course.

But as much as I would like it to be, this post is not about me or my writing, but about the books. Once I started appreciating the agony, suffering and self-loathing that goes into writing and writing well, I took a whole different approach to bookstores. Going to the used book store around the corner was no longer about finding a book that would keep my attention, but standing in the presence of millions upon millions hours of time, of edits and rejections to finally come up with something. Not all books are created equal, that’s certainly true, and not all books have the same value, but in the end, you need to appreciate the time and effort that went into producing something. I know it’s not exactly true, but think about how many names you see in the production of a movie, the hundreds of people who contribute to the end product you’re consuming. Now look at the single author of the book you’re holding in your hand, the guy or gal who stayed up late and woke up early with one goal, keep writing, get it all down on paper.

Now I think about things a little differently. It’s not just about the stories, the imaginary places that the books can transport us in our minds. It’s also about where the books themselves have been. How many hands has that book passed through from the airport bookstore in Tokyo twenty years ago, to end up in a pile of discounted, but not forgotten, summer reads? Do us both a favor, hit the off switch, pick up a book, and head to the beach or the backyard. Adventure awaits, I’ll see you there.

Making Things in 2016 With The #MegaMaker Challenge



“Life’s better when you make things.”‘

I discovered the #MegaMaker movement through Product Hunt, a regularly updated hub that showcases  late-great techno advents. I ogle over the list of comprised industry novelties on a daily basis but was especially intrigued by the 2016 Maker Challenge: Make more stuff this year. That was a no holds-barred challenge I could giddily embark upon.

 As I further investigated, I saw movement founder Justin Jackson’s post with over 100 projects to make in 2016 and had already completed over 15% . What I found most compelling about the varied list of Justin Jackson‘s projects was that most of them are aimed to create something that amplifies the act of creativity.

Many are either:

Justin Jackson

This is Justin Jackson. He likes making things.

communal resources geared to enhance the groups creative travails: (eg)

Video tutorial for freelancers
Challenge based slack community
Emailed newsletters

or things that encourage him to enhance the creative muscles oe innovative capacities, aka creative tools: (eg)

slack bot
twitter bot
weird website
a map
More so, Justin’s list of creative feats for 2016 spans throughout the intricate vast spectrum of multimedia possibilities harnessed by digital media. You can find Justin’s Google Doc creative project list here, where you will see not only a growing list but vociferous commentary made by the Maker zealots(such as myself, and 1,664 other people who have joined)

I think the magnitudinous following can be attributed to Justin’s leadership finesse— his stylistic rebellious flair, one hell of a beard, and quite a spectrum of  experience under his belt. The notion of a creative online collective has abundant capacities to not only inspire individuals but to actually instill proactive movement among community members.

When we create things, we willing walk the plank and belly dive into the murky depths of potential failure. To fail, we’ve been taught, is the greatest vice of all, according to the overtly cautious dictates of social orthodoxy encouraging fraidy-cat wussiness rather than daring rebellion. John Howkins defines creative entrepreneurs as people “who use creativity to unlock the wealth that lies within themselves”

See, for me, to create is more than a mere frivolity, it’s a necessity. I create because I have to, because there’d be a gaping void of emptinesss stagnantly and restlessly wading in my soul, if my life was comprised of only the robotic nuances of orthodox motions bereft of creativirty. Creativity, especially manifested through writing, is the outlet that emancipates he energetic jiving raptures of imaginative furor that read from my vagabond soul. And so create I will—create I must.

Like the natural born ADHD wizard that I am, I immediately started jotting down ideas about the creative projects I’d take on in 2016. However, in an ever so ADHD-esque fashion the several lists were concocted in multiple sources, none of which i can presently find, so I started anew, emulating Justin’s Google Doc

Indeed, darling reader, the following are a list of some of the thing I’m determined to create in 2016.

Mallory’s Maker List

  • Write a children’s book
  • Start a Youtube Channel
  • Learn to take good pics
  • Come up with 100 blog post ideas
  • Start a Local Meetup Group
  • Freewrite on a daily basis
  • Open an Etsy store
  • Write a Mallory Manifesto about my “brand”, beliefs, and goals
  • Write a blog post about the Maker Challenge and check in (every month or so) to give updates on progres
  • Create a #ThriftThursday social media challenge
  • Develop lovely handwriting
  • create an organization tailored to my personal style and stick to it
  • Write handwritten letters to friends and people I admire
  • Try to periscope daily/every other day
  • Make and stick to a blogging schedule(with 3 posts per week)

Create more social media resources on blog like:

  • Best Social Media Blogs
  • Best Social Media Podcasts
  • Social Network Platform Slideshare
  • A-Z Glossary of Digital Terminology
  • Social Media Theory pieces
  • Reach out to controversial figures/ big names/ role models for interviews(the worst they can do is say no)
  • Implement the Pomodoro Productivity System
  • Put limitations on internet lollygagging
  • wabi-sabi
  • Host a blab regularly (blab about The Bachelor—sophisticated i know every Wednesday at 9pm CT)
  • Make one of those pretty planners that are all the rage so i can not loathe organization and planning as much as I do
  • Film bizarre shit that i do in my everyday life
  • Walk like an egyptian
  • Incorporate outfit of the day pics into blog and instagram
  • Make fitness print out freebies
  • Make monthly/weekly editorial calendar for social media and blogging

Find out more about Justin Jackson’s Maker Challenge here.

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