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Blue Water

                              

Most everyone, at one time or another, has dreamed of a life free from problems: a life full of joy, peace and happiness. Childhood was often a step in the right direction. For the most part, our needs were taken care of, and we were safe under the protection and guidance of our parents. Our goal was to have fun at whatever we enjoyed doing.


However, as we grow older the plot thickens. Challenges of all sorts begin to arise; the way tension develops in a good novel or screenplay. At some point (usually before we’re ready) we all begin to make choices that inevitably determine our fate later in life. The seed we choose to plant in the springtime determines what we harvest come fall. Eventually, we all get into the business of either enjoying or suffering the consequences of what we choose to think, act, and even feel.


At times, life can be likened to being at the helm of a large three masted sailboat, forging ahead on the high seas: only without the benefit of a rudder. Maybe we’ll reach our destination, maybe we won’t. Either way, we remain bound to the mercy of the ever-changing seas, not knowing what it’s like to feel safe or free.


Fortunate are the brave souls who choose to set out in search of a better way! And if, in their searching, they happen to find themselves beside “still waters”, the magic begins to flow. From a place far beyond reason, deep within the silence of each and every heart, we “dis-cover” one simple truth behind all of life. When we let the light of this truth shine forth in all that we do, think and feel, we awaken to a kingdom where freedom reigns and the everlasting joy of peace and happiness abound.


Based on a true story, Where Mice Meet the Sea was written as a humble attempt to bear witness to this account.


The story is about the consequences of action and the resolution of conflict. It unfolds in sequence with the four classic stages of creative thinking. As an attempt to make problem solving more fun, I have identified these four stages as PLAE©Preparation, Letting go, Aha and finally, Experimentation. The underlying message is, “think of creativity  as PLAE©”. (more about this in the analysis below)

It is my hope that children of all ages can read or listen to the story and put together the parts of the available mousetrap kit. Then, just maybe, instead of settling for doing things “the same old way everyone else did”, they might be encouraged to step outside the box and find a better way.


Victor Orne - author

Author’s Mission Statement

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Meet the Author

"What an astonishing thing a book is! It's a flat object made from a tree, with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic and this room is filled with magic."

—Carl Sagan

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An In-depth Analysis

 Creativity - The ability to take existing subjects and or objects and combine them in unusual ways for new purposes.

 

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” - Albert Einstein

Around 500 BC, the Ancient Greeks believed they lived in a god-saturated universe, every rock, spring, and mountain guarded by it's nature spirit. They thought the inspiration for originality came from the gods and even invented heavenly creatures – the Muses – as supervisors of human creativity.

Socrates wrote that inspired thoughts originate with the gods, ideas coming not when a person is rational, but when someone is ‘beside himself,” when “bereft of his senses.” Since the gods take away reason before bestowing the gift of inspiration, “thinking” might prevent the reception of divinely inspired revelations.

 

In the modern world, people have increasingly begun to feel that creative ideas come not from beyond but from within – from some hidden part of the mind.

 

“Creative thinking is not a talent; it is a skill that can be learned. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities, which improves teamwork, productivity, and where appropriate, profits.” - Edwards de Bono

 

The early twentieth-century reformer Graham Wallas, got closer to describing the source of the creative process, which he outlines in his book, The Art of Thought. Summarizing his own and other people’s work in this area, Wallas described four stages of creation.

1. Preparation – The person expecting to gain new insights must know his field of study and be well prepared. This fits what we have experienced when people get inventive ideas in their own fields – poets in poetry, scientists in science.

 

2. Incubation – Wallas noticed many great ideas came only after a period spent away from the problem.

This was certainly the experience of Archimedes when he got his idea in the public bath. Many ideas come to us when we are away from the problem, usually after actively engaging with the problem.
 

3. Illumination – The “click” or “flash” of a new idea. It is a mysterious phase. Resting the mind by doing other activities was the only suggestion Wallas could offer about how creative ideas form.


4. Verification – In this last step, efforts are made to see if the “happy idea” actually solves the problem. Since great ideas do not always work out in actual practice, this decisive step is vitally important to the success of any project.

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  •  A New Model for Creative Thinking

“Creativity is knowledge having fun.” - Albert Einstein

In the spirit of "having fun", we will present the four stages of the creative process as PLAE©.


1. Preparation – Define the issue, observation, and study


2. Letting go – Laying the issue aside for a period of time


3. Aha – The moment a new idea finally emerges


4. Experimentation – Checking it out to see if the new idea really works


The message?    “Think of creativity as PLAE©.”

  •  Making Learning More Enjoyable

Children learn easier using their own preferred style of learning. As we delve deeper into the story, we find that all three styles of have been incorporated.

1. Visual (see the story) – Where Mice Meet the Sea, illustrated book
2. Auditory (hear the story) - Downloadable, narration with sound effects
3. Kinesthetic (participate) – Build the Genuine Woodbury Mousetrap
© kit

 

“If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” -  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

  • Putting it All Together - Creative Problem Solving / Conflict Resolution

 

In the beginning Woodbury lived the perfect life. His home was the perfect home, he lived in complete harmony with his surroundings. He was happy. He was interested only in doing what he did best; an indication that he was wise. He knew that when we do what we enjoy doing we are more likely to become successful. When established in our area of expertise we tend to meet with less resistance; minimizing potential conflicts and problems and maximizing our chances of creating a life fully established in happiness.

 

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However, when Woody realized that a mouse had found its way “into the warmth of the kitchen,” he became anxious and fearful about not having enough food left to eat. Being anxious and fearful obstructs our ability to think clearly and can deplete our energy and lessen our experience of joyfulness.


At this point in the story a special little mouse initiates Woody into an experiential understanding of the creative process. We will refer to this process as PLAE©, P for preparation, L for letting go, A for aha, and E for experimentation.

 

P  Preparation

In preparation we define the problem, need or desire. We gather any information relevant to a solution and set up criteria for verifying the solution’s feasibility. We recognize this stage in reading – “This presented a problem for Woody. On the one hand he thought he should do whatever necessary to get rid of the little critters. On the other hand, he didn’t like the thought of hurting them.” Due to the finer qualities of Woodbury’s mind, he knew he needed to do something about the situation. Due to the finer qualities of his heart, he was concerned for the well-being of the little mouse.


Here lies the real source to Woody’s problem, the conflict between heart and mind.

 

“Quite clearly the two great things for which we aim are the improvement of
intelligence and the deepening and extension of feeling of friendliness and love.”

– Aldous Huxley a 20th century English writer

Because of the uneasiness brought about by his confusion, Woody was unable to
access his creative potential. Not knowing what else to do, he attempted to solve his problem “the same old way everyone else did.” However, it wasn’t long before he realized he made an awful mistake. 
Most everyone makes what appears to be mistakes.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” - Albert Einstein.

 

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Actions always produce consequences. Right actions produce the desired results. Wrong actions produce undesirable results. Woody’s actions led to a state of unhappiness. For him, this was the worst of outcomes. Knowing firsthand how wonderful life could be Woody’s unhappiness became especially unbearable. He found himself lost, not knowing how to find his way back to the life he once enjoyed. This completes the first stage of the creative process, which was to recognize the situation at hand and identify the problem. Woody needed to find his way back to happiness.

 

L Letting go 

The next stage, Letting go, is a period of time spent away from the problem. This begins when Woody drops his tools and leaves his workshop. “Troubled and confused, Woody eventually put down his tools, left the boat shop and headed to the shore where he kept a very special sailboat of his own.”


“It comforted Woody to look over his shoulder and watch the shore, off in the distance, slowly vanish from sight…. then, a most pleasant peacefulness was all there was.” This heightened state of awareness can be accomplished intentionally or unintentionally by allowing the mind to turn inward toward a more calm, thus orderly state while maintaining inner wakefulness.


 "Look within. Within is the fountain of good.” - Marcus Aurelius the 2nd century roman emperor and philosopher

“There is an inmost center in us all, where truth abides in fullness.” - Robert Browning  19th century English poet

“Truth is not introduced into the individual from without but was within him all the time.” Soren Kierkegaard 19th century Danish philosopher

 

In the story, the “boat his father built long ago,” is symbolic of the archetypal form which connects us to the “calmness of the endless sea;” the state of heighten awareness, the nature of the pure creative potential, which resides deep within each every one of us.

 

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Creative responses often arise from a quiet, peaceful heart and mind.


- Woody then jumped ashore with just one thing on his mind, ” What the world needs is a better mousetrap”, he shouted aloud. Unlike the other stages of the creative process, the Aha or illumination stage often starts with a

brief burst of energy and ideas pertaining to the subject at hand. The results can last a few minutes, hours, even days.

A Aha

 

Having contacted that peacefulness within, Woody acquired a new and more creative perspective to the conflict at hand.  This was described beautifully when said, “That serene and blessed mood, in which the affections gently lead us on…. while with an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In tapping into the deeper values of his own creativity, Woody saw clearly what needed to be done. “What the world needs is a better mousetrap; something safe and simple for everyone to enjoy!”

“Let each become all that he is capable of being, if possible, to his full growth; and show himself at length in his own shape and stature.” Thomas Caryle, the famous 19th century Scottish essayist 

E Experimentation 

This brings us to the Experimentation (verification) stage, the fourth and final
stage of the creative process as originally defined by Graham Wallas in 1926.

.
Woody established verification with Experimentation (fourth stage). “
 Su
re enough,

hunched in the far corner…. sat a little mouse.

In exercising each of the four stages of the creative process, Woody found a way to resolve the age-old conflict between heart and mind, as well as mice and men.  And again, “He was feeling an abundance of happiness and love he had never known before.”

“If only the whole world could feel the power of harmony.” – Wolfgang A. Mozart

The Science behind the Story

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At GoKerPlunk

We hope to inspire anyone who reads our story or sees how our mousetrap works.

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