wasting bandwidth since 1999

Creative Thinking


Last Wednesday was World Creativity and Innovation Day, designated by the United Nations “to raise the awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development”. Nice, but maybe something like that deserves more than one day.

For the first few decades of my life, I never thought of myself as creative. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards math and science. They appeared to be mostly structured and more approachable for someone with little talent for something like writing or music.

At least, that’s the way those subjects were presented when I was in school. I only realized after a couple of years in my own classroomI that I had been misled. Good teaching requires a great deal of creativity, and that’s especially true of those “hard” sciences like mathematics.

I started blogging early in this century,1 partially as a way to push myself into learning to be more creative. Leaning into photography as an art form (as opposed to just documenting scenes) started about the same time.

So, I’ve been asking myself, is the lack of output around here just writer’s/creator’s block or a total lack of talent? Can I blame the pandemic?

While the upheaval of the past two-plus years hasn’t been fun for anyone, I know many creative people who have been impacted far more by it than I have. So I can’t and won’t use COVID as a rational for whatever issues I have making good use of this space.

When I first started renting2 this site at the end of the last century, I landed on the name Assorted Stuff because I had a variety of ideas for what I could do with a site on the web.

However, at my core I’m an educator, and my vision (if I can apply that lofty term) was always on helping people learn… something.

That “something” has changed over the years but that idea is a good place to start figuring out what want to do next with this space.

Thanks for reading my rambling brain dump.

The cartoon above is from FoxTrot by Bill Amend. He stopped drawing the daily strip in 2006 but the Sunday feature is still going, and still mostly funny. Both the “classic” and new strips are available on GoComics (which, at 20 bucks a year for all the comics you can handle, is a great bargain).

1. Almost twenty years ago!

2. No one gets to “buy” a domain name. The best you can do is get a ten-year lease and remember to renew when the time is up.


  1. Doug Johnson

    Tim, I have found retirement, not COVID, to be the most challenging impediment to finding new ideas about which to write. I’ve always viewed creativity as a tool for solving problems (I’m not real artsy, fartsy) and without a job where problems seem to crop up on a daily basis, my pilot light for writing is less reliable. I struggle to find things about which to write. One positive note is that I write less with an audience in mind, and more simply to amuse myself. Happily I am easily amused. Good luck with your struggle.

    • tim

      Thanks, Doug. I probably should have included retirement in my challenges. The process of that transition has been more difficult than I expected, and maybe more than I willing to admit. Many different pieces to consider in the path forward.

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