Tag Archives: inspiration

Ideas Aren’t the Hard Bit, But Require Boredom

In a recent essay on his website, Neil Gaiman rails about the too-frequent question his fans ask: Where do your ideas come from?

Neil Gaiman

Firstly, Neil explains, people don’t like his explanation that he makes them up, “Out of my head”. But more importantly, ideas are not the “hard bit”.

“They’re a small component of the whole. Creating believable people who do more or less what you tell them to is much harder. And hardest by far is the process of simply sitting down and putting one word after another to construct whatever it is you’re trying to build: making it interesting, making it new.”

Then Gaiman was faced with the question posed during a talk with his 7-year-old daughter’s class. This time he decided to answer it as fully as possible.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it…You get ideas when you ask yourself simple questions. The most important of the questions is just, What if…?”

“You get ideas from being bored…The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

We provide lots of opportunities for budding writers to learn and to write. I wonder, though: is there opportunity  for boredom in this connected culture?

Gaiman goes on to list and illustrate the many questions that spark ideas in the full essay: Where do you get your ideas?

See Gaiman’s booklist on Goodreads.

Via Open Culture

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education

Dang! I’m Inspired Again

September is so busy. I shouldn’t have taken the day off of work to attend Yellowhead Regional Library’s annual conference.

20130914-photo

I shouldn’t have had a peaceful night in a lovely hotel – where the people-watching game was very satisfying.

I shouldn’t have listened to so many intelligent people, making so much sense…making me admit that I’ve had enough time to assess my project and now it’s time to begin to take it to the next level. Just when I was trying to convince myself that I might be able to coast a little, get that teacher resource room cleaned up, maybe repair some books…

Then along comes Lynn Shabada and Lori Bell, the administrators of Onoway Elementary School and then Twyla Lesko, Onoway’s Librarian, Karen Mason, from Centennial Elementary School in Wetaskiwin and Stacy Howse, from Westlock Elementary School. These amazing people are transforming their libraries into Learning Commons. The upshot of this combination of presentations was to remind me that my library, although open, welcoming, somewhat comfortable and as accommodating as I have been able to make it, it is still not the hub of the school.

Sessions: The importance of school libraries: an administrative perspective, and Transforming your library: inspiring the Library Learning Commons

Onoway’s ‘Dream Team’ of principal, associate principal and library manager share a vision of transforming the space, the service and the culture of the library to “Open it Up” and remove a miscellanea of subtle and not-so-subtle barriers to reading: rules and procedures that stand in the way of students’ natural curiosity and adventurous spirit.

Twyla’s advice: “Say Yes! Think We”

Twyla’s advice: “Say Yes! Think We”

Karen’s vision is to “To Bring Technology, Community and Learning Together in one Memorable Place!” Newly placed into the library from her position as a learning assistant, Karen immediately saw a crowded, dated and unwelcoming space and transformed it into a well-appreciated hub that supports her students culturally, emotionally and academically.

Karen's welcoming reading corner at Centennial Elementary.

Karen’s welcoming reading corner at Centennial Elementary.

Stacy’s project began with a tree. When a well-known member of the community and school board chair passed away, his family wished that a fitting memorial be placed in the school library. The upshot of collective brainstorming was a tree house where children could climb to reading nooks. The coming construction seemed to Stacy to be the perfect time to begin a transformation that she had had percolating in her mind since she started in the position over a year ago.

Westlock Elementary

Stacy’s journey has just begun with the reclassification of her collection but is fully envisioned. Her goals: successful browsing, improved curriculum support and increased visual appeal.

And that was all before lunch…

After a wonderful lunch of Shepard’s Pie and Peach Cobbler, (where I won a door prize of two novels on CDs), and visited the vendors’ booths, I attended another two great sessions. Mary Medinsky from Red Deer College gave an lively presentation on Teen Tech Trends and Jamie Davis, the coordinator of Learn Alberta’s Online Reference Centre showed us some of the exciting new resources in that collection.

Between all these fabulous presentations and chatting with lots of people, (like Janet from Warburg, another K-12 school), the result of all this darn inspiration is a 25 point to-do list that I now will have to follow up on because I couldn’t hold my head up if, after all this work, my library is still not what it could be.

by Tom Fleming

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Filed under Education, Library Management, Rethinking My Library

Delving Through Delicious (Bookmarks)

Advocating for silence in a noise-addicted world – The Quiet Ones.

8 Tips for the Care and Feeding of the Reluctant Tech User from the Daring Librarian

People of the Bookshelf “Alpha by subject … or by dinner party seating rules? Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on a shelving obsession.”

Ideas from L_M Net for inexpensive / homemade bookmarks.

Over 250 Free Children’s e-Books for ages 3-11 from Oxford Primary to read online with or without narration. Activities included.

Emoticons at 30 (Or Is It 45? Or 125? Or 131?)

Reconceptualising the School Library as Collaborative Makerspace “We need to deliberately and systematically create spaces and processes in our schools that foster creativity and innovation”

Free Books: 100 Free Sites to Download Literature

New SF bookstore devoted to rescuing out-of-print sf books and making them into free ebooks

B.C. Librarian Judith Comfort’s Fieldnotes:

“Our kids and their teachers are rushed off their feet like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland –“No time, no time,” and as for both student and adult attention and concentration – eye contact is replaced by eye – to screen contact. Factor in the whirling, dervishing technology gurus who have compromise our pedagogy with brilliant myths personalized to seduce us.

I feel I am needed more than ever because my teachers have no time to look for stuff themselves, and have no time to analyze it’s usefulness in terms of their teaching goals. The kids need to be reassured that space and quiet is a good necessary thing; that reading heals their fragmented attention-addled brains.”

* Images in this post have been offered as ‘Free to Use or Share’ according to Google Advanced Search usage rights filter.

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Filed under Education, Library Management, Online Resources, Reading, Technology, Wisdom