I wish I could recommend a cure for insomnia -- or whatever is the culprit when you get the stalls. Sadly, that stuff happens and I'm afraid there's no way to prevent it. But I am working on building some habits to help me through the haze when it does.
- Gather your materials. For this exercise you need a half-gallon brick of ice cream in a solid color like vanilla or mint. Bill said he showed Annette at the grocery store the shopping list with "solid-color ice cream" and I think there might have been discussion about "what's she up to now?" You also need an ice cream topping, preferably Hershey's Dark Chocolate syrup.
- Prepare your canvas. Use a cleaver or a bread knife to cut a serving slab from the ice cream. Don't be stingy. Put the slab on a nice, solid-color plate. It doesn't have to be white.
- Doodle. Doodle on the ice cream with the topping. Dots, flowing lines, zigzags -- whatever.
- Ask the question. After doodling, give yourself an incubation prompt. For me, last night it was this: "What's the one thing I want to feel more clear about in the morning?"
- Savor. Enjoy the moment, and the ice cream. Like a computer that's got stuff working in the background, your brain can be working on that question while you spend time with your family, watch a movie, read a book, enjoy the sunset, sleep.
A good reading companion for this movie would be Matthew B. Crawford's Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. Crawford, a philosopher as well as a motorcycle repair shop owner, makes some very good points about the relationship between creativity and the willingness to try and fail and try again.
Now I'm wondering why I never read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and if I should add that to my reading list. What do you think?