About Conversation Kindling

The purpose of this blog is to share stories, metaphors, quotes, songs, humor, etc. in hopes they'll be used to spark authentic and rewarding conversations about working and living fruitfully. There are at least three things you can gain by getting involved in these conversations. First, you'll discover new and important things about yourself through the process of thinking out loud. Second, you'll deepen your relationships with others who participate by swapping thoughts, feelings, and stories with them. Finally, you'll learn that robust dialogue centered on stories and experiences is the best way to build new knowledge and generate innovative answers to the questions that both life and work ask.

I write another blog called My Spare Brain. This is where I am "storing" ideas for use in future books, articles, blog posts, speeches, and workshops. There is little rhyme or reason for what I post there. I do this to encourage visitors to come as treasure hunters looking for new ways of seeing and thinking vs. researchers looking for new or better answers to questions they already know how to ask.

26 November 2009

Sorcerery with an IPod

A great way to randomize a search for ideas is what I call Sorcery with an IPod. Here's what to do.
  • Generate a play list of at least 50 songs. Choose songs that tell a story and conjure up vivid images, emotions, memories, etc.
  • Have someone describe a problem or opportunity. He or she should provide background information, explain why it is a problem or opportunity, list what has already been thought of or tried, and paint a picture of an ideal solution.
  • Push the Shuffle or Random Play button on the IPod and listen to the song that plays.
  • Generate ideas from the song.
Here are some songs I'd pick:
The links I have listed will take you to You Tube and video versions of the songs. For Sorcery with an IPod, I would suggest audio tracks. This will allow you to create your own mental pictures to illustrate the stories told by the songs.

  • How does music factor into your life today? Was there a time in your life when you would have given a different answer?
  • Who performed at the best live music event you ever attended? Is there a story you can tell about why that particular concert stands out in your mind?
  • Is there a song that has special meaning for you? Why?
  • Have you ever dreamed of being a superstar singer and performing in front of thousands of adoring fans? If so, how does your dream play out as a story?
  • Have you ever done karaoke in public? How did it work out for you?
"There is a general place in your brain, I think, reserved for 'melancholy of relationships past.' It grows and prospers as life progresses, forcing you finally, against your better judgment, to listen to country music." - Kary Mullis
"Country songs have always told the best stories and no one -- really, no one -- has ever done it better than Nashville. All my life I've admired guitarists like Chet Atkins and Roy Clark who touched me through their sound, but it was those Nashville songwriters who got to me through their words." - B.B. King, blues guitarist and singer-songwriter
"The way I see it, we're actors, but musical ones. We're doing it with notes, and lyrics with notes, telling a story. I can take an audience and get 'em into a frenzy so they'll almost riot, and yet I can sit there so you can almost hear a pin drop." - Ray Charles
"Close your eyes and you can hear her even now. It's 1960 and you're parked at the Steak n' Shake in your red and white Chevy convertible and on the radio, Connie Francis is singing Where the Boys Are. It's a love song to a time and a place. And as you tip the curb girl a dime, you close your eyes, and dream about pointing that Chevy right down Route 45 to Fort Lauderdale." - Roger Ebert, review of Where the Boys are '84 for Chicago Sun Times

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