Joe Journeys to Jonesboro for Part 2 of AAF NEA Panel

The week is finally here. I’m off to Jonesboro, Arkansas, virtually that is, for part 2 of the AAF Northeast Arkansas Chapter’s panel discussion in the Expanding Your Toolbelt Series. Claiming Your Strength in Advertising will be this Friday, May 20 from Noon Til 5PM.

The above link will give you all the info you need to know including a register area if you are so inclined. The panel is comprised of advertising and creative leaders from around the country, including the national president of the American Advertising Federation, and yours truly speaking on Kick Starting Creativity.

Projected schedule:

Lunch & Session 1: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm | Take This Job and #^*&  with Anissa Centers
This workshop is about investing in what it takes to excel in your field, even when you are no longer motivated.

Session 2: 1:00 – 2:00 | Digital Drawing Workshop with Whitney Blackburn
Take some time to learn a new skill that you can utilize in your professional or personal time. Learn all the ins and outs of digital drawing.

Session 3: 2:00 – 3:00 | Kickstarting Creativity Without Screwing Up the Idea with Joe Fournet
Creativity plays a vital role in getting the consumer’s attention, no matter the size of one’s budget or what it is a company is selling to the public. Joe’s presentation has some fun showcasing winning and wacky ways to kick-start the creative process while staying true to the core ideas. 

Session 4: 3:00 – 4:00 | Leadership Lessons From the Lockdown with AAF National President, Steve Pacheco
From handling crises to navigating new channels of communication and connecting with your team, advice, and tips from lessons learned during lockdown.

Session 5: 4:00 – 5:00 | Curiosity with Professor Leslie Moore Parker
This session helps identify the self-imposed constraints that may hold us back in our careers and lives. It encourages participants to open their minds and hearts to the unexpected and the outrageous.  

Organizations like the AAF are wonderful resources for professionals interested in joining with other like-minded peers in the advertising and marketing spheres. Various chapters like this one in northeast Arkansas, and mine in Houston, serve the local advertising and creative community and make it worthwhile to become a member and strengthen one’s career and life interests.

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.


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Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!







Don’t Wait on your Muse

Or anything else for that matter. Write or draw or sculpt or paint or whatever creative endeavor fulfills your spirit, but do it every day.

Write or (fill in the blank) according to process and not according to mood. This statement was reinforced this week during my regular session with my life counselor. Sometimes I wait for the inspiration to strike, not unlike a ton of others (that would be you).

There are times when I have actually no idea of what I’m going to write for this blog or my other, more creative one. There are also times when I could care less whether or not I post a blog in the first place. I’ve been reminded, however, that people read these and do get something out of them. I’m very glad and appreciative of that.

When you observe a process like the one I mentioned above, you’ll need to expect that you’ll write a lot of garbage that will be edited out anyway. Your project may also invoke several revisions until you finally publish (get it out into the world).

If I wrote just according to when my muse strikes or when a particular mood envelopes me, I’m not sure I’d get anything done, let alone on a regular basis.

Believe it or not, this method, write according to program, keeps your mind going and growing. The words one writes will spur on other words. Now, whether or not those words will be the ones actually used remains to be seen.

Hemmingway used a process similar to this when he’d sit down at his typewriter and type – one word, then another. What he wrote may not even translate into a complete sentence. Eventually, the sentence would come along and then the paragraph. Then the page, then the chapter, and so on.

In a 1959 interview with CBS News’ Mike Wallace, another legendary story teller, Rod Serling, had this reveal regarding the craft of writing and the determination it takes:

Upon being asked about the time he devotes to working as a writer (and simultaneously a producer), he answered without hesitation: 12–14 hours a day; a surplus of what is considered to be the current standard of a 9–5 office job.

Other than implying that creativity demands an input that exceeds the amount of time imposed for most tasks, Serling proposed the sentiment that the more time a writer spends on writing, the more their role as an artist is developed. The craft of writing is not merely to come up with one or two ideas, but countless ideas stemming from the same drive that prompted us to write the first few.

Regardless of where you are in your creative career, you’ll inevitably encounter a slow-down on the creativity treadmill. Well, all is not lost. Don’t give up and stick to it. Remember something you’re passionate about and pursue it. Think about it, write about it, develop it, refine it. Just do it.

I’m writing these words not only to encourage you but also myself. I’ve gotten stuck a lot of times and this can be some very distasteful medicine. But, once you start, you’ll continue until you finish. And at that point my friends, your muse would be proud.


Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

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Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!


Silence and Isolation: What’s So Good About It?

Some months ago I wrote a piece dealing with silence and isolationism. It definitely resonated with my readers. So, with a few tweaks and revisions, I thought I’d re-post about silence and isolation. It can be deafening. It can be disturbing. It can be manipulative. It can be crushing. It can be a lot of things to and for different people.

Most of us experience silence in isolation. Whether or not we prefer silence, it is a choice of ours. We make it everyday. It provides think time, soul searching, mind wandering, healing. We even experience it when going through transition.

Sometimes, though, the silence can be too loud. You hear nothing but ticking of a clock. The wind outside. The neighbor’s voices. Your own mind speaking its will. Your memories, beckoning to be thought of again – for better or for worse.

Living in isolation or alone can be two different things. Both can be disturbing and both attract silence, welcomed or not.

So what can you do? That depends on whether or not you want to do something, anything.

Silence every once in awhile can be a good thing. Silence most or all of the time, not so good. That can be debilitating, destructive.

I live alone and experience the sounds of silence. I have my memories to both excite me, put a smile on my face, and sadden me, depress me. Memories can be loud and dreams can awaken oneself suddenly.  As I write this blog, the only sound I hear is the whirling of the fan near my desk, and the slight clicking of the keys on my laptop.

The sounds of silence are many. That’s why I take medication for depression and moods. We all need help, some of us more than others. It depends on what we’ve been through, are going through. Don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed to say you need help; then, reach out.

When silence comes upon you, take the time to think and reflect. Hopefully, positively. Even if negatively, just remember . . .

Out of darkness, no way comes.

The blinking torments,

The shattering light blinds,

Memories present themselves,

An array of emotions is before us.

Worry . . . Joy.

The feeling can be disheartening.

The sound is disturbing,

The sound of silence.

A reckoning is at hand.

Choose wisely.


Ukranian Flag

Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

Time Flies as it Plods Along

Hard to believe it’s been two years. Two years of being in transition. Two years of not being sure what’s next. Two years since Pam died, and two years of not getting used to saying that.

I know I’m not the only one. Thousands of people die every year. People lose loved ones every day. There is an anniversary of sorts that’s acknowledged every day, and it’s not the wedding kind.

The numbness never goes away. The pain remains. When my Dad died back in 1978, it took me years before I was able to get through that annual day without breaking down. Now with Pam, I’m just numb when that time comes around every month, let alone every year.

But I don’t wait for the time to come upon me. I talk with Pam every day; not in-depth discussions, but I speak to her all the time. And, yes, there are those times I can hear her answer me or reply.

Somehow I get through it all. Of course, Pam’s memory isn’t the only thing that keeps me up at night. I often think back to times before Pam and wonder how certain memories can be so detailed – from 40 years ago!

I try to stay positive and live in the present. When I feel myself slipping, I think “Is there anything I can do about it right now, today?” If not, I move on. What do you do?

What will the next two years bring? Hell, what will the next year bring? I have no clue. I do know I don’t plan on staying here; too many mixed memories. When will I move? Lord knows!

I do know that whenever and wherever I move, memories will remain. They will for you, too. I also know that regardless of my circumstance, I need more fun and less demanding financial scenarios to encounter. Then again who doesn’t? Deep down I believe that will take care of itself. It usually does.

Meanwhile, Pam, I still miss you very much. Don’t know how time flies in Heaven or wherever Jewish spirits end up, but on Earth, time flies as it plods along. Love you!

Ukranian Flag

Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!





Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

Immunocompromised People: Pay Attention!

If we’re not in this group, we know someone who is. My journey these past couple of weeks has taken me through several doctors’ offices, both in person and virtual. All in person visits have required masks until further notice. No big deal!

Thank goodness all the prognoses have been favorable for me. I’m a cancer (leukemia) survivor, so no “minor” victories exist; they’re all major ones. In between visits I have to be especially careful due to the cancer treatments I take. I’m okay but, perhaps like you, I am immunocompromised.

Thus far, COVID-19 has been a non-factor for me; yet I am fully vaccinated and twice boosted. I take no chance. When I recently came upon an article by a Vox contributor about concerns for the immunocompromised, I took note and wanted to pass it along to you.

My apologies if this appears to be a lengthy blog post; it probably is. However, with respect, pay attention; your health depends on it (no pressure!).


Fredrick Wilson, a spine doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, was asleep at home in June 2020 when he had a massive heart attack that destroyed more than three-quarters of his heart tissue. He was lucky to survive the ambulance ride to the hospital.

Until then, Wilson, now 66, had been a healthy cyclist who took no prescription drugs. But after the attack, he needed a heart transplant, and with it, 33 pills to swallow a day, including powerful immunosuppressants to prevent his immune system from attacking his transplanted heart. These drugs help keep his new heart pumping, but they also make it harder for his body to fight off infections. They put him at high risk for both catching Covid-19 and having severe outcomes from the infection.

As Covid-19 stutters into endemicity, the more than 7 million Americans with weakened immune systems, including Wilson, are left making hard choices that others don’t face. He feels conflicted: He misses taking care of his longtime patients and teaching junior colleagues his craft. But he’s also afraid to die from Covid-19 after such a miraculous survival.

“Every time I go to the office, I’m going to feel some risk involved, and I’m not really that comfortable with it,” he said. But, he added, “I’m just not ready to stop seeing patients just yet.”

Even for a doctor, making decisions as an immunocompromised person is difficult — especially now. There’s no obvious guidebook for this group, in part because immunocompromised states are almost as diverse as the individuals who cope with them. While the risks associated with these conditions are not uniform, many immunocompromised people are now making decisions under a blanket of fear.

Helping people with weakened immune systems navigate this stage of the pandemic means recognizing that the group contains a large spectrum of risk — but even those at more risk now have tools that allow them to be proactive about their safety, and both individual and collective actions can help protect them.

There’s a wide spectrum of risk among immunocompromised people

It’s really hard to assess the exact risk an immunocompromised person faces. That’s partly because “immunocompromised” is a catch-all term for a complex group of conditions. The immune system consists of many interrelated parts, and weaknesses in different components of it can lead to different levels of risk.

“It’s not like there is a clear category of ‘you’re immune compromised’ and ‘you’re not at all’ — there’s a gradient,” said Dimitri Drekonja, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Minnesota.

Immune systems can be weakened in different ways — via disease, such as advanced or untreated HIV; by treatments for certain medical conditions, such as medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and some cancers; or by medications that target normal immune systems in transplant patients, to prevent them from attacking new organs, or immune system components, such as in stem cell transplants.

When it comes to Covid-19, the important question for immunocompromised people is whether their immune system’s specific vulnerability places them at higher risk for either infection with or severe disease due to the coronavirus.

Immunocompromised people, overall, are thought to be at particular risk for Covid-19 because the SARS-CoV-2 virus is so new, said Christine Koval, who leads the transplant infectious disease team at the Cleveland Clinic.They’re also at relatively higher risk for severe outcomes from common cold and flu viruses, but their immune systems have encountered these viruses before. SARS-CoV-2 is too new for their immune systems to offer much protection against it.

The data is mixed on which immunocompromised people face the greatest danger when it comes to Covid-19, in large part because many in this group are older or have other medical conditions that raise the risk of severe disease.

Experts generally agree Covid-19 risk is elevated for people with cancers of the blood or immune systems (like leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma), lung cancer, advanced or progressive cancer, recent stem cell transplants, and advanced or untreated HIV. Those actively receiving chemotherapy that reduces bone marrow activity and people with some primary immunodeficiencies are also in the highest-risk category.

The CDC’s “moderately to severely immunocompromised” designation, created largely for the purposes of allocating Covid-19 vaccines, includes these high-risk categories. But it also includes more ambiguous ones, including people taking other immunosuppressive medicines and those who have received organ transplants, conditions whose risk scientists don’t understand as well.

Researchers have not yet developed a unifying theory to explain why certain immunocompromised states raise the risk from Covid-19, but many have proposed an important role for B cells. These immune cells are responsible for producing the antibodies key to the immune system’s sentinel function, which identifies invading germs and signals the need for a counterattack.

That makes them critical to the body’s defenses against new pathogens; because people taking medicines that dampen these cells’ activity have a less robust vaccine response and higher risk for severe infection or death when it comes to Covid-19, scientists think there is a relationship between B cell function and risk.

When a medical condition or treatment weakens the entire immune system, it also weakens B cells; that could explain why people with blood cancers, stem cell transplants, and advanced HIV are at higher risk.

However, B cell dysfunction doesn’t explain all of the risk immunocompromised people face, said David Hafler, a neurologist and immunobiologist at the Yale School of Medicine. In some people with weakened B cells (for example, those who take the prescription medication rituximab) other parts of the immune system seem able to pick up the slack — but not in everyone.

Ultimately, that makes it hard to sort individuals definitively into risk categories.

Hafler attributes some of this variability to the “immune lottery” — that is, the role of genetics in determining individual strengths and vulnerabilities in each person’s defenses. “Everyone has a different immune system,” he said, which makes it hard to ascertain why some people have severe Covid-19 infections while others do not, without understanding underlying genetic differences.

(It is possible to test for the presence and level of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the blood, which are products of the immune system’s defense against the virus. But these tests don’t tell you how protected you are — or are not — from an infection.)

Megan Ryan, an advocate for people with primary immunodeficiencies, who herself has common variable immunodeficiency, said the individually variable nature of immunocompromised states makes it particularly important that higher-risk people get their information from health care providers who know them — not from the public square.

“It is a confusing time,” she said, “because there’s a lot of people who are either experts or self-proclaimed experts — there’s just a lot of voices in the system.” She recommended seeking medical advice from the health care team that knows you best “rather than crowdsourcing an answer,” she said.

That’s also the best advice for people concerned they have an undiagnosed immune system problem: Get evaluated by a health care provider — ideally, one who knows you well.

Continue reading

Skin Cancer: If You Suspect, Inspect!

Let me say at the outset, skin cancer is not something you want to f*ck around with. If you do, you may regret it. I’ve had two surgical procedures done on me because of skin cancer, one far worse (nose) than the other (head). Fortunately, all the cancer in both instances was removed.

One type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin, is the second most common form of skin cancer, characterized by abnormal, accelerated growth of squamous cells. When caught early, most SCCs are curable.

SCC of the skin is also known as cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). Adding the word “cutaneous” identifies it as a skin cancer and differentiates it from squamous cell cancers that can arise inside the body, in places like the mouth, throat or lungs.

One of three main types of cells in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis), squamous cells are flat cells located near the surface of the skin that shed continuously as new ones form.

SCC occurs when DNA damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation or other damaging agents trigger abnormal changes in the squamous cells.

SCCs can appear as scaly red patches, open sores, rough, thickened or wart-like skin, or raised growths with a central depression. At times, SCCs may crust over, itch or bleed. The lesions most commonly arise in sun-exposed areas of the body.

Having been through this before, the most recent surgical procedure being just yesterday, I strongly suggest an annual, complete body scan by your dermatologist to check any out-of-the-ordinary spots that may indicate the presence of cancer.

A full body skin exam, or skin cancer screening, is a visual exam that checks the skin for certain unusual marks which may be signs of skin cancer. Birthmarks, moles, and other suspicious spots that have an unusual color, size, shape, or texture are what dermatologists usually pay most attention to during these screenings. 

Usually, there is nothing to worry about since skin cancer is very common and, unless its location is some place like the nose, is very easily treated by a simple surgical procedure.

One can never be too careful, especially seeing as though this second round of skin cancer was located on the top of my head – and I wear a hat almost all the time!

Be wary, be aware and be seen by a dermatologist if you haven’t paid them a visit in the last year or if you suspect an area on your self that may be trouble.

So do it already and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.


Ukranian Flag

Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.


AAF NEA Women’s Panel Highlights

Last week the Northeast Arkansas Chapter of the American Advertising Federation hosted a special panel discussing the empowerment of women in advertising. As I was honored to be the lone male on the female panel, I wanted to share some of the highlights of the discussion.

There were many questions asked of us but perhaps the most appropriate was left until last and it was: What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? We had a very diverse panel so the responses were also diverse and, naturally, came from various perspectives.

The distinguished panel


In no special order the responses, and my take on them, covered topics such as:

Mentorship — Choose that special someone or someones with whom you feel you can always talk and receive constructive feedback. It doesn’t matter their background, only that they serve up positive advice (not just BS) with which you can put to good use.

Informational Interviews — These are great when you want to talk with someone at a company for which you’d either like to work or the industry is one in which you’d like to enter. You’re not necessarily looking for a job, but information about a position and/or the company itself. These can be people you know or don’t know but who would have good insight into what you’re trying to learn.

“Don’t Give Up!” — Yes, I know, it sounds cliche’ish. Try to always aim higher than what you normally would. Get used to rejection and failure. Failure is not a bad word; it’s common in most successful companies. Fail, fail fast, learn from it and then move on.

Shut Up and Listen — Don’t ramble on and on; know when to stop talking and listen. Again, listen. ‘Nuf said!

Be Open to Conversation — Don’t think that what you think or need to say is more important than anyone else in the room. Be willing to share your thoughts, yes, but always be open to what others are saying even if you disagree. There are always two sides to every argument and discussion. An argument is never worthwhile; a discussion always is.

Equity vs Equality — There is equity in knowledge and you build equity as you learn from your experiences. Equality is earned since, realistically, we are not all equal. Equality is right up there with respect. Once you attain respect, equality should also be attained. Granted, both are difficult to achieve for some of us in society, even by today’s standards. Both are worth it, however.

Respect and Professionalism — You earn one and develop the other. These are two of the most sought-after assets one can possess. Neither is a label that one puts on oneself; they are both bestowed on by others. Again, you have to earn them. That’s where life experiences come into play. Learning from your mentor is vitally important. It can help shape your future.

All in all, the panel discussion of women’s empowerment in advertising was quite successful. It was an information packed hour. Part 2 to be hosted in April or May should be equally if not more impressive.


Ukranian Flag
Live long and prosper, Ukraine!

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

Empowering the Women of Advertising

Every once in awhile I’m asked to join in a panel discussion on a worthwhile topic. This week’s journey takes me, virtually speaking, to Jonesboro, Arkansas for a special meeting this Thursday of the American Advertising Federation chapter in northeast Arkansas.

Empowering the Women of Advertising is the panel’s topic for a two-part event in March and April. Of interesting note, I have the pleasure of evidently being in the distinct minority on the panel, being of male descent.

Women make up nearly 50% of those working in the advertising industry, but sometimes we still seem to be stuck in a Mad Men world. 

Increasing diverse participation in advertising and marketing is not a woman’s issue; it’s a business issue, and we need everyone involved. To that end, AAF Northeast Arkansas is planning a two-part event entitled “Claiming Your Strength – Empowering the Women of Advertising” to raise awareness about ways to involve more men in creating inclusive work environments and how women can claim their strength within the advertising realm. 

There will be a special blog post Thursday, the day of the event, on, covering some of the challenges facing women (and men, too) in today’s environment from the British perspective.

A sampling:

Creative departments need the creative power of older women. Sue Higgs, joint ECD at dentsuMB in the UK, addresses the subject bluntly but brilliantly. “Our industry would be richer if we looked beyond people’s wrinkles and looked at what they can bring. Because who cares at the end of the day?

“I find that it’s someone else’s problem, ageism,” she adds. As she told LBB last month (a British publication), the stage in life Sue’s at now is a huge asset to her as a creative leader. “The great thing about being in your mid-life or wherever we are – the autumn, the summer – is that it’s quite liberating to find your strength, and your power, and your voice.”

And that liberated voice is exactly what creatives need to flourish. Besides, a recent study from the BBC showed that people have two key creative times in their lives, one in their 20s and one in their 50s. It must be a huge oversight of the industry to only be tapping into one of those pools.

This is not an American problem but a universal one, unfortunately, as evidenced in the United Kingdom’s Press. So, take a read of my ideasnmoreblog post this Thursday as I dive deeper into this complicated topic. Then, take time to view and listen to the AAFNEA event planned on YouTube beginning at 11:30 CT. Meanwhile, please keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers. Thanks!

Ukranian Flag
Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!

Solitude and Dr. Seuss

This week Joe’s Journey looks at solitude and its impact on creativity, and on Thursday’s Ideasnmoreblog a birthday tribute to a very special creative sort, Dr. Seuss.

Solitude, as has been noted previously, is both a good and not-so-good thing to experience. I’ve had it both ways. I live alone so it’s quiet most days and my mind takes me all over. Solitude produces sadness and puts a smile on my face, just not at the same time.

Memories abound amidst realities I’d soon not face. But from those memories arise certain vignettes which sometimes serve as the creative spark for my next fiction story and/or blog post. The creative juices will flow but at times the flow is more like a drip.

Below is a sampling of different scenarios from various folks who experience solitude and have turned it into a positive development in their creativity.

Musician Ani DiFranco produced her album, “Educated Guess,” entirely on her own. An interviewer asked, “Your approach, your energy on the current tour and on the new album seem different. Why is that?”

DiFranco:“The difference is solitude. I have it in my life now, and I didn’t for years, at all… now I’m alone on stage, it’s been like a year and a half, and I’m alone in my dressing room and I’m alone in my home. And there’s just a lot less people around. So it allows for more contemplation.”

Writer Erica Jong thinks“Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to nurture it in solitude and to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.”

“Painter Gwen John, poet Stevie Smith, philosopher Simone Weil, writers Isak Dinesen, Rebecca West and Katherine Mansfield are among women who used aloneness as a lab.”

[From review by Laurie Stone of the book Alone! Alone!: Lives of Some Outsider Women, by Rosemary Dinnage]

In her Psychology Today article Field Guide to the Loner: The Real Insiders, Elizabeth Svoboda writes about Miina Matsuoka who“lives by herself in New York City. She owns two cats and routinely screens her calls. But before you jump to conclusions, note that she is comfortable hobnobbing in any of five languages for her job as business manager at an international lighting-design firm.

“She just strongly prefers not to socialize, opting instead for long baths, DVDs, and immersion in her art projects. She does have good, close friends, and goes dancing about once a month, but afterward feels a strong need to ‘hide and recoup.’

“In our society, where extroverts make up three-quarters of the population, loners (except Henry David Thoreau) are pegged as creepy or pathetic. But soloists like Matsuoka can function just fine in the world – they simply prefer traveling through their own interior universe.”

The author adds, “Contrary to popular belief, not all loners have a pathological fear of social contact. ‘Some people simply have a low need for affiliation,’ says Jonathan Cheek, a psychologist at Wellesley College. ‘There’s a big subdivision between the loner-by-preference and the enforced loner.’

“Those who choose the living room over the ballroom may have inherited their temperament, Cheek says. Or a penchant for solitude could reflect a mix of innate tendencies and experiences such as not having many friends as a child or growing up in a family that values privacy.”

Solitude may relate to social anxiety or high sensitivity for some people, which can result in emotional overwhelm in many social situations.

But many innovators and creators choose solitude – as persons “who can to a higher degree than average accept the condition of aloneness,” says psychologist Nathaniel Branden.

“They are more willing to follow their own vision, even when it takes them far from the mainland of the human community.”

In her article Psychological Factors in the Development of Adulthood Giftedness from Childhood Talent, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, PhD talks about solitude in early life:

“Many eminent individuals reported experiencing social isolation and loneliness as children. Many came from homes where there was ample opportunity for time alone for a variety of reasons and circumstances.

“Some were deliberately kept from having friends by their parents who feared the friend’s negative influences. Some creative producers sought solitary time as children to escape family tensions and stressful circumstances.

“Solitary time in childhood also supported the development of a rich internal fantasy life, one that could aid creative thought.” As an only child, I was playing alone a lot of the time. It was me and my imagination, my best friend. Complementing this environment was a group of stuffed animals who became my extended family.

Oh, I had friends in the neighborhood but when they weren’t available, my “stuffed family” was instantly at the ready. My aloneness was one of my comfort zones and probably served up my creativity at this early age without me realizing it.

During present day, I try and use my morning “coffee time” as my solitary think time, when I just let my mind take me to wherever it wants or needs to go.  Sometimes I’m thinking about my next blog post or what to do/not do about a certain incident or experience. Other times, I try to free my mind of all thought and simply relax and let my subconscious do its thing.

As was said earlier, solitude can be both a good and not-so-good thing. Acknowledge both instances and let it serve you well.


Thanks in part to Douglas Eby and Talent Development for contributing to this blog post. Douglas Eby (M.A./Psychology) is author of the Talent Development Resources series of sites including High Ability; Highly Sensitive and Creative; The Creative Mind and others – which provide “Information and inspiration to enhance creativity and personal development.”

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.