FOUR THINGS TO ASK A STRANGER (almost a parody)

Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

One way to get to know a person you've just met is to ask them to tell you about their favorite friends. It's said that a person essentially becomes an aggregate of the five people with whom they spend the most time.

There's another telling question to ask a stranger. It's all about a book.

1) Is there one book that you have re-read and will read again (and again)?
2) What is the most recent book that you've read and what stands out to you most?
3) What is the title of a book you recommend most often to friends?
4) What was the last book you read that made you so sad when it came to the end? (Because you wanted to keep on reading, not because the ending was sad!).

If the person you are just getting to know has never re-read a book, can't remember what stood out from the last book they read, doesn't recommend books to friends and has never felt sad to stop reading an excellent book...

I suggest that you stop conversing with them. And, perhaps, run. Kidding (not kidding). Perhaps you might consider striking up a conversation with someone else that you might want to get to know. AND start THAT conversation off by recommending a book you've recently read...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"How Does IT work?"

This is a variation of a question I am asked repeatedly in interviews and in person.

"HOW does _______________(writing, creating, collaborating, thinking up ideas...) Work?"

The core of the inquiry implies that that is one way.  A single path.  A sturdy, works everywhere for anything, methodology. 

Philosophers have been suggesting (thanks to Soren Kierkegaard for posing this to me as a teen) that the "either/or" approach is limiting.  Patti Digh, author and trainer,  loves to promote the use of AND.  Not this or that but rather, this AND that. I march in that parade.

When it comes to innovating, inspiring, imagining, creating, making...there are few makers who fall into the
"one size fits all" category.  Like the inventive cook in a home kitchen...there is a starting place. Perhaps it is a recipe.  Perhaps it is whatever is available in the chillcase or the pantry.  And then...it's "a little of this and a little of that."  Many culinary delight would be missed if a kitchen only produced all food items in a single method.  So it is with ideas. With art. With wondering and planning.

I have core practices that straddle all my disciplines.  In some form.  What it looks like in a production art effort is a very different snapshot than what it looks like when I am creating a custom piece for someone.  There are similarities at core points and from there, outward, things look very different. 

The question can be more specific to be effective.  "In THIS instance, did you follow a single methodology or did you employ many different approaches?" 

To reverse engineer the subject:  work backwards on an endeavor that didn't feel right or work well for you.  Were you applying an approach that worked successfully in another effort?  The concept of transferable skills is a brilliant one.  And there are instances that a fresh, utterly untried way, is what is essential to the success of the effort.  HOW do you call out that freshness?  Yes, I am asking.  How do you call out that fresh approach in your own home,work, personal pursuits.  I'd love to know.  You are welcome to write me through my web page: maryanneradmacher.net or you can comment here. 

No comments: