February 4, 2009

Ernest Porps: Creative Being.

Creative Being: Five Steps to Creativity and Problem Solving in Everything You Do

(A Slightly-Biased Book Review)

Having worked as a sho’nuff Professional Journalist in my day, I’ve discovered that beginning with full disclosure saves you a world of trouble later on. So…okay, I was deeply involved in the production of Creative Being…I’m even on the back cover! Despite my best efforts to correct them, amazon.com insists on featuring me as a co-author.

The real and only author, though, is Ernest Porps: a mild-mannered, semi-retired university professor living in Boulder—who just happens to have cracked the creative code.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, Creative Being is a terrific book, and I’ll give you eight of a possible, say, 73 reasons why:

1.    It proves hands down that yes, you are a creative person, after all.

2.    It gives you a clear, five-step technique for solving problems ranging from a hangnail to a hostile takeover.

3.    It contains no affirmations, formulas or onerous disciplines.

4.    It gives you plenty of hands-on practices you can use to beef up your creative and problem-solving muscle.

5.    Reading it will utterly eliminate any rationale you can come up with for not launching your art, business or science project.

6.    It beats all those expensive workshops that send you out all fired up to find a cure for cancer/make your first million/write the next Ulysses before you default to routinely uninspired lethargy three days later.

7.    It’s easy to read.

8.    It’s fun.

What makes Creative Being different from other books on the subject is that it tells it like it is. That is, it doesn’t say, Here’s how to turn yourself a creative genius. Instead, Ernest takes a long, hard look at the naturally occurring creative process and puts the whole thing in slow mo. It’s like replaying a tennis serve, breaking it down into all its parts so that you can see every strength and weakness. Then you know exactly how to improve your serve.

And Ernest will show you that you do, in fact, already have a serve to improve. You’re constantly, endlessly, ineluctably engaged in creativity and its corollary, problem solving. Right this minute, as you read these words, you’re engaging in at least one creative act. For one thing, you’re making the choice to keep reading, and as Ernest points out, every personal choice is an artistic choice.

Then, too: while you’re reading, some idea or other is almost certainly percolating in the back of your mind—you’re practicing Stage One of the creative cycle. At the same time, you’re adding to your collection of ideas and inspirations about creativity—Stage Three. You get the picture. Whether or not you consciously believe you’re creating or problem solving, you are. There’s no escape. Creative Being shows you how to stop running and turn to receive the bonanza you’re owed, just for being human.

What About the Mystery?

Ernest’s point: since we’re doing creativity and problem solving all the time, let’s bring it out into the light, where we can see it in action. Then we have choices—a big improvement on starving in a garret while we await that once-in-a-lifetime bolt from the blue. (As you’ll learn when you read Creative Being, bolts from the blue are raining on us 24/7—we just miss most of them.)

Perhaps you’ve thought of creativity as a heavenly gift that arrives in a velvety box of mystique, backlit with divine inspiration. If so, reading this book will thankfully set you straight. If creativity was what the hucksters (and well meaning but deluded mavens) would have us believe, very few of us would have a prayer of realizing our boundless potential. But as our fantasies about creativity give way to what’s actually involved, we stumble upon the real mystery: the completely uncontrollable and unpredictable nature of whatever is going to pop out of our own quirky, fertile creative genius. This is no consolation prize. It’s exactly the same stuff that wins Nobels and Pulitzers.

The joy of this book is that it plunges you right into the nitty gritty of the creative/problem solving cycle so that you can apply it immediately to every area of your life. If you read the whole book while awake and relatively sober, and do some of the exercises at the end of each chapter (there are lots so you can choose your most helpful ones), you’ll emerge with a practical and powerful new toolkit for navigating your world. Ernest’s growing stack of grateful testimonials confirms that it’s true. As does my own experience.

But then I’m biased.

You can order Creative Being: Five Steps to Creativity and Problem Solving in Everything You Do at http://www.trafford.com/05-0099 or from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Being-Creativity-Problem-Everything/dp/1412052041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233760051&sr=1-1.

Better still, go to Ernest’s book signing at the Boulder Book Store on February 11 at 7:30 PM. Then you can get an autographed copy to hold up for the photographers when you make your Nobel acceptance speech.

—Jennifer Woodhull

(If you want to know more about this writer, read the back cover of Creative Being.)


Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant Journal  |  Contribution: 1,510,385