What could be more tormenting for an artist than a mind-block that is as stubborn as a pampered 3 year old? Days became months and months became many months, all I could squeeze out of my right brain were unconvincing excuses to convince the dying creative birdie in me. Bad times, really.
And then, there came to my rescue my pampered 3 year old for he is one client who generously allows me revert time of 30 seconds punctuated with non-stop tantrums. However, the creative liberty I get here cannot be compared even with my personal diary entries. I am allowed the world and the space above.
All he wants is a story, he can sleep with.
And then I would tell stories of flying fish and birds that can swim; of babies with tails and tail-less monkeys; of hairy hippos and slimy bears; of a story-loving boy and his story-telling mom.
The reward: big beautiful eyes dancing with excitement, a happy-hug and a good-night’s sleep.
Okay, I know. It’s not a parenting forum where I can get moist-eyed and rant on being mommy. And that’s really not the objective of this post. It is about a very common side-effect of creativity and a very uncommon solution to it. Where there’s creativity, there’s creative block. But what I found amazing was the way my bed-time stories kept my mind rust-free and fresh for the next professional day. After all it is no less challenging than churning out a creative campaign that’s supposed to adhere to a 50-paged brand guideline.
How dare I compare the regular, outright ordinary task of narrating stories to my son with something that helps me pay his school fee?
A. Deadline that’s half a minute away
Son: Ma, story. C’mon, tell me.
Me: Okay baba, let me think.
Son: Don’t think. Tell me a story.
So, according to my son, it doesn’t take thinking to come up with something worth listening. Thinking, as they say, is such a waste of time. May be he isn’t wrong. Even at work, your best shot could be the one that came out spontaneously. With every brush-up, you take it a level down. And with a time-frame of half a minute, there’s no scope for thinking left. Isn’t it?
B. The vocabulary allowed is a list of 500 words, max.
Now, you may have a history of making the CXOs of giant brands open up Merriam-Webster on their iPhones and using words and phrases like folie à deux and idée fixe in casual conversations to your credit and but hey, this job can make you run out of your sea of words. Watch out for that frown on your little one’s face. That’ll remind you the night you had to stay back to re-write the copy that didn’t adhere to the Bible called ‘brand guidelines’.
You might wanna repeat that sentence in a simpler language. C’est la vie!
C. Dare not try something stale
Repeating a story that falls within the memory span of your little imp is as big a crime as re-proposing last year’s brand campaign to your client and expecting an ovation.
‘Unique’ and ‘Innovative’ are the favorite words here as well.
I ended up telling two stories instead of one when I made that mistake. Phew!
D. Don’t bore
Wishing to educate and enlighten as you narrate a story is but natural for a mummy. But you need to be as smart as you are while hiding bits of beans and broccoli in his pizzas and cutlets. If the story goes too heavy on morals, you might have to pay with yet another one.
So never underestimate those few moments in the world of fantasies with your kid. There’s a lot to take-away from those little storytelling sessions that may come handy while you prepare yourself for your next client presentation.
For a cheat-sheet of Bedtime Stories, visit thestorytellingmom.wordpress.com