Category Archives: lab notes

Sept. 2017 | Eleven keys to being more creative

by Theresa J. Barker

Sketch by Theresa Barker

Are you looking to be more creative?  I know that I’m always searching for new ideas or new ways of thinking that will enrich my creativity.  This is a list I wrote last year.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Always be as true as you can be.  Even if it is not quite as true as it will be next month, next year.

Don’t be afraid of imagination.  It will take you places only you thought of, but that other people will wish to go, too.

It’s okay if you can’t think of what to create next.  Eventually you will.

It’s never trivial to do exercises.  They are often more important than Serious Projects.


Seek out fellow creators to hold the space for creating.  But don’t waste time with unpleasant, nasty, or mean people.

Try not to obsess.  It will work out, one way or another.

Don’t be afraid to give time to your work.  Even if it seems like play.  (Especially so.)

You can always learn from coaching another.  Also from studying the work of another, even if they are famous, dead, unknown, or just around the corner.

There is trying too hard.  Keep in mind that it often comes to you when you let go but still remain engaged.

Design is magical.  So is creation.  So are you.

Fiction: Eve’s Tale

by Theresa J. Barker

Author’s note:  This story was inspired by Ursula Le Guin’s story in the New Yorker, “She Unnames Them,” in which Eve leaves Adam by giving him back her name.

Eve’s Tale

The interviewer sat across the desk, shuffling papers. “So, you left your last position because . . .”

Eve shifted in her chair. “Let’s just say it didn’t work out.”

He looked at her dubiously.

She shrugged. “The management and I didn’t get along.”

“I see. References?”

“Uh … not exactly.”

He jotted notes on the yellow pad in front of him.

“Previous experience?”

“I’ve done a lot of housesitting,” she said, leaning forward. “Been a caretaker all my life.”

He jotted more notes. “Experience with animals?”

“Yup. Tons.”

“Oh?” He looked skeptical. “Dogs? Cats?”

She took a deep breath. “Dogs, cats – yeah. Horses, pigs, cows, chickens, ducks. Yaks. Birds, parrots, cockatiels – you know – all those exotic breeds.”

He was scribbling notes furiously. She chuckled to herself.

“. . . spiders, gnats, mosquitoes,” she went on. “. . . termites, ants, bats, owls eagles – let’s see, seals dolphins, whales . . .”

He put down his pen. “Really.”

She grinned. “Oh, yeah.”


“Some of my best friends, in fact.” She relished his look of disbelief. “They tell the best stories.”

“Uh huh.” He was leaning back now, arms crossed.

She cocked her head thoughtfully. “I think it’s because they live such a long time. You know, over a hundred years. And talk about family. Aunts, grandmothers, cousins, nieces, grand-nieces, all over the place. “

“And do they move!” She flung out an arm. “Way down south in the winter, up north in the summer. They see most of the planet.”

“Well.” He leaned forward, picked up the papers, glanced through them, looking down. “I think we have everything we need.”

“So do I get the job?”

“We’ll be in touch.”

On the way out, she thought about the interviewer for a moment. She knew he didn’t believe her. They never did. Without a past, without references, it was hard to get anywhere in this town.

But she was a woman who made her own future. She was a woman who beat the odds, bested a serpent, and got kicked out of the Garden of Eden by the deity, after all. She was a part of the world. She was the world.

She did have one thing on her side. Walking down the sidewalk toward the bus stop, she sent a message to the mosquitoes. A little surprise for the interviewer when he arrived at his office tomorrow morning.