A Beautiful, Wandering Mind

(Illustration: Margit Detweiler/TueNight.com)

As I write this, it’s Tuesday, 12:34 pm and we launch in a few hours. I’ve just returned from a weekend at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and after loads of inspiring chats, Shiner Boch beers, and breakfast burritos, I’m a bit spent.

So what better time to write the editor’s note than LAST MINUTE? I need a little panic in my soul to find my mojo, and typically do my best work right before deadline. Or maybe, I just typically work right before deadline. Because when down to the wire, there’s no way out: no time to take a nap, turn on the TV, work on other projects (a productive way to procrastinate!), take an Instagram of my cowboy boots, read that Atlantic article, sign up for that new Meerkat thingy, get a coffee, chat with my officemate, Meerkat our chat…

And maybe more importantly, no time to listen to all the voices in my head that say, “So you think you’re a writer? Hahahahaha…” It’s clock ticking, voices off, just write the damn thing.

But you can’t underestimate that “pre” stage — the moments when we’re procrastinating, doing nothing really, or as I like to say, doing some “creative wandering” to set the stage for inspiration.

Two amazing speakers I saw at SXSW might concur. Paola Antonelli, curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, said she loved to “live and work in the spaces in between.” That makes so much sense to me when we think about creativity — those slivers of time that are unpurposeful or wandering can be magical.

Film producer Brian Grazer said almost the exact same thing:

“The grey area between the question and the answer is where ideas are created,” said Grazer, the famously spiky haired co-founder of Imagine Entertainment and producer of movies like A Beautiful Mind and 8 Mile. He noted that his insatiable curiosity led him to conversations with fascinating and important people outside his own field — and ultimately, great films. “Curiosity is the source of all my success.” Here’s a good recap of that chat.

Photos of SXSW from @TueNight on Instagram

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At this year’s SXSW I purposefully decided not to attend too many talks in my own field (a.k.a. content strategy/ digital publishing) but to wander into the unknown — that’s where the stories are. I met NASA robots, listened to astronaut Mae Jemison on diversity in STEM (one of our 38 Over 38!) and watched Born to Be Mild, a documentary about the Dull Men’s Club in England — a group of fellows who find pleasure in the “boring.” Like riding the UK’s longest escalator or collecting bricks. Dabbling about— as high art.

When procrastination turns into an actual hobby or even work? Well, that’s a beautiful thing.

This week, we’ve got all the time in the world…

Later (and I do mean LATER),


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