Monday, June 30, 2014

Mary Aalgaard: Thinkology

Last week, my friend Guy Kelm and I taught a writing class for kids, ages 8-12, called Kids and the Art of Writing. One of our favorite activities of the week was to visit the Q Gallery, an art gallery in the same building, featuring local artists. As the saying goes, “Art inspires Art,” and the kids came up with some beautiful pairings for some of the pieces.



Guy Kelm and a student, studying the visual artwork, using Thinkology to process the piece.

For the kids, this is a day camp experience where they get to concentrate on their writing for two hours every day, get feedback and encouragement from teachers and other writers, and let that creative energy flow.

We grown-ups don’t often get those camp experiences. Sometimes, we pay good money to attend writer’s workshops, conferences, or spend a week at a secluded writing retreat. Most of the time, we have to scrape and claw for an extra minute to do anything of the creative bend. So, how do we keep our creative stories growing without having a lovely camp? We can use Thinkology.

Yes, folks, we can use this grand philosophy right her in river city! (Are you getting flashbacks to the musical The Music Man?) In the musical, Professor Harold Hill swoops in to milk out a little money from the towns folks in the guise of forming a local band for kids. After the uniforms and instruments arrive, the grown-ups are waiting for the sound of “76 Trombones” and all the rest of the instruments. They get a lot of air, and a few squeeks. Professor Hill says something like, “You have to start out with Thinkology.” You need time to think it through, to hear the music before you begin to play, then, when the moment is right, you will have the sound you desire.

He wasn’t all full of air. I find myself using Thinkology while I do the dishes, take walks, drive the kids to their activities, wait to pick them up again, even sitting in church (don’t tell my pastor). We need think time as well as writing time. This is also comforting news to busy moms like me! We can use that think time to imagine, jot notes, listen, and then when we have that spare minute, the story is ready to appear on the page.

After a morning of watching and listening to the kids create, I would drive home (sometimes humming Professor Hill’s la da da de da de da and wiggling my finger like a conductor) I had visions of the next play that I’m writing, visions I’ve been waiting for, and soon, I’ll be on my retreat week where kitchen and laundry duties don’t exist, and I’ll let the words flow.

Go. Create. Inspire!

 I use a lot of Thinkology while riding on the back of the bike on rides with The Biker Chef!

Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer and blogger. Her words stretch across the globe through her blogs on www.playoffthepage.com, which include Play off the Page, inspiration and entertainment reviews; Ride off the Page, a travelog about riding adventures on a Harley-Davidson with The Biker Chef; and Dine off the Page, for chef’s tips, recipes, and restaurant reviews. Mary is also a playwright. Her original drama Coffee Shop Confessions was performed in coffee shops around the Brainerd, MN area in 2012. She works with both children and adults to create original dramas, and is offering theatre classes for kids where they write their own plays and create the set. Contact her at Mary(AT)playoffthepage(DOT)com

Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary! 

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Where are your favorite places to use Thinkology? 

15 comments:

  1. I know Mary!
    I think through on a story for a month or two before I ever commit an outline to paper.

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  2. Golfer Jack "The Bear" used it when he was in a POW camp. He envisioned hitting the ball perfect every time. When he was freed and returned to golfing, he did just that and without practicing the actual thing for a long time.

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  3. I try to envision every scene and have it clear in my mind before I write it down. My favorite time to think is actually right before I fall asleep--although sometimes I do have to get up to write ideas down!

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    1. I know, Sarah! I've had great ideas while falling asleep or right away in the morning, and I have lost them by not writing them down.

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  4. I'm a huge fan of thinking and thinking and thinking, before writing anything down. I do this while I'm doing housework, on long car rides (when I'm not the driver), and on walks with my dog. It helps me have a more solid idea when I'm finally ready to write.

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    1. I do it while driving, too. Some of those prairie roads are long and uneventful, good for practicing Thinkology!

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  5. Thinking is such a portable activity. I do it all the time and nobody's the wiser. I just look like I'm listening to the conversation or watching the game, when I'm really writing a book in my head.

    Love the idea of taking kids to galleries and letting them "think" about the art they see.

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  6. I do "thinkology" and "dreaming" while I am doing mundane things. It is one of the seeds of my writing life

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  7. I didn't know that's what it's called, but I use thinkology a lot.

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  8. I'm going to have to think on that.

    Good post! I spend most of my time thinking about writing, and when I actually get the opportunity to write, I brain dump. *splashing noise* Please excuse the gray matter...

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  9. I love the idea of thinkology! I use it all the time, I just didn't know it had a name. ;) Hands down the best place for thinkology is school.

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  10. I go through periods when I spend a great deal of time in Thinkology. I like it!

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  11. I think it's great to work with kids on writing; it shows them that writing is more than just texting and updating their Facebook pages.

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  12. I love this idea! How wonderful-I have taught to the young and old. It makes a difference to give back-good for you!

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  13. love this way of creating! embrace what's around and infuse it into your own style - excellent!

    and thanks for commenting on my broken branch falls blog tour!

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Thanks for commenting! I love to read what you think.