Magnificent Obsessions

Eric Maisel is back with a new book called “Brainstorm” which is about encouraging the mind’s natural talent for obsessing. Maisel differentiates between productive and unproductive obsessing. Basically, the difference is that a productive obsession takes you in a direction of making meaning…of enhancing your world of creativity.

Having just gone through rearranging my schedule so that I can focus on work, “Brainstorm” produces a bit of cognitive dissonance.

Can I be attentive to my bill paying tasks while obsessing about my passions?

Apparently so.

I have a new book structure that I have been obsessing about. It’s called a strap journal because the text block is sewn across a heavy paper strap which inserts into slits in the book’s covers. The quality that excites me is the ability to easily replace the inside pages once they are full and reuse the cover. I imagine endless possibilities for simple embellishments of this simple structure.

When I moved into my tiny house, I learned quickly that having some limits is more exciting than open-endedness. In my twelve years of living here, I have arranged and rearranged the interior using bookshelves and other furniture as “walls” to define spaces… enlarging and shrinking my “rooms” according to need or whim. This simple rectangle holds so many possibilities.

And the strap journal is similar.

I’ve made three already, and I wake in the night thinking about more.

I am brainstorming.

And curiously, when it’s time to go to work (the job that pays the bills), instead of resenting the intrusion, I find that I can set aside my art obsession with the knowledge that it will be waiting for me at the end of the day like dessert at the end of a nutriitous meal.

Productive obsessing, it turns out, does not detract from focus… it enhances it.

For more thoughts about brainstorming, read this interesting blog...

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