Creative repurposing

The Grand monster son comes to visit

Last Sunday, my grand monster son stayed in with my Sunday School class of 7th through 9th graders.  The boy (4) was a zombie until his papaw walked out.  (that zombie thing was what convinced me to let him stay.).  No sooner does the door close and the show begins.  Of course, a room full of Jr. High boys and a 4 year old, what did I expect?  The big boys would set him up, and he would be off, having no ‘off’ button and no idea where the line is that says “too far.”  But this post isn’t about boys getting rowdy.  It is about a little boy who taught me a lesson.


English: Elmer's office glue stick, 25g.

Image via Wikipedia

Ah, a glue stick!

For a few minutes during the class, Roland was coloring.  After coloring, he noticed a glue stick.  He said, “Oh, a glue stick!  I can use one of these!”  He takes the glue stick and runs it on the back of the paper and then goes over and glues it to the door of the classroom.  He was so proud of himself!  I left it there for a bit (knowing it would come off just fine), but when class was over, I had to take it down.  Roland did not understand why you don’t glue paper to a wall/door.  I allowed him to place it on a board instead and all was well.


The argument

While the picture was on the wall, Gram and Imma had a bit of a tiff.  Gram was all for immediately yanking the paper off the wall and disciplining the little bugger for “ruining” the door.  Imma was all for letting it go (forever) and just enjoying the chaos.  Gram got her way to a degree, but Imma was able to temper her a bit.  Often this is a good thing.  We want to go off half-cocked on the one hand and need a cool head to keep us from the worst excesses.  Other times, we want to over-react and wind up hurting others.  Then we need someone to keep us from acting on our initial instinct.


Imma, the free-spirit, right-brained, uber-creative one, is the one who would use a glue stick to put a picture on the wall.  She doesn’t do this to make Gram mad, although it often has that effect.  She does it because it works.  She is able to take an object and use it in unique ways.  When it comes to writing, she is not always trapped in the all-or-nothing thinking of others.  She appreciates grammar, but it is not her master.  She sees ways to use words that is creative and not always what one would expect.  She has the innocence necessary to try new things.  If it fails, she tries something else.


Gram, the left-brained, analytical, practical one, is the one who would never use a glue stick to put a picture on the wall.  She is a ‘by-the-book’, ‘follow-the-rules’ kind of gal.  Glue sticks go with paper, not walls.  She is likely to use words in ways she believes they were meant to be used.  She is not uncreative, (we’ll save that for another post) but she creates differently.  Gram sees the practical and seeks to make her words work for her.  Failure is not a happy accident for Gram as it is for Imma.  It is one of her biggest struggles.  She needs to succeed or she feels like she should give up.

Of course these are both extremes, and we can find both in the same person.  They can also learn a great deal by accepting the other instead of seeking to change her.

Are you able to see beyond the practical use of something, say a word, paragraph, poem, etc. and use it in a different way or are you tied to the uses you understand?  If you lean hard in one direction or the other, how does this affect your writing?   Are you self-sabatoging by walking the line or by always floating above the clouds?  Have you learned anything about yourself and your writing through these examples?  Why does knowing the inner workings of your inner writer help you write better?   These questions will get you started.  Feel free to comment on other questions that come to mind.




  1. authormjlogan

    ‘Gram creates…’ This ties back to a previous comment I made that I am unsure which side of my brain is the one that insists on perfection. Logically, it feels like that comes from the left. In a more abstract sense, I feel that is not necessarily so.

    Before I decided to devote myself to creating things like books and blogs and websites, I created things in a different sort of way. I helped people realize their dreams by building them new kitchens and bathrooms and finishing their basements. Often, I had to create a new way of doing something because every house is different.

    As I read your thoughts on right and left, on creativity and perfection, I feel as though there’s a meeting in the middle. In my case it is probably a little to the right of middle where the left melds into the right, where creativity, perfection and logic meet and join and blend together.

    To answer one question directly, I do think I’ve learned about the inner workings of my creativity by reading here. Your thoughts get me thinking and musing.

    It is an interesting aspect of the creative process.

    • Is that a good thing? It might turn out to be dangerous, or exciting, depending on one’s perspective. I suspect you like to mull these types of things over as well. I know what you mean about the question of which is the perfectionist. When I paint or do other kinds of creative things, Imma is definately a perfectionist, while Gram tries to get her to let it go before she ruins it. It’s a very complicated thing – our brains!

      • authormjlogan

        I definitely think it is a good thing. 🙂

  2. There is rarely a “correct” way to do something…there is the norm, the standard, the conventional. I’ll offer one example…I recently had my hip replaced and was terrified of all of it, but chose a newer and much less known (and practiced) procedure. NOT experimental in any way but much less known and accepted. My recovery has been fast and with very little pain, as predicted. Had I gone the “standard” route, my life would be very different right now.

    I’m a professional writer and know firsthand that asking “weird” questions is the way to go.

    • No, there is only the “correct” way someone else thinks it should be. I’m glad you’re recovering from your surgery! I’m actually trying to take care of my dad who broke his hip, had to have it replaced and is in a transitional home for a few more weeks. I’m guessing your hip has healed much faster than the 2 months + we’re into it already. Thank you for stopping by Gram and Imma’s place. I’m sure there will be many wierd questions and comments to come. Angie

  3. Oh I love it that you always get us thinking. I think I’ve learned much about letting things flow – creativity has it’s own energy and I love that.

    • Thank you very much. I’m glad you’ve found something here to light your way. 🙂 Angie

  4. I had flashbacks to glue sticks and Elmer’s glue as a girl! Good post!

    • Ha Ha! Flashbacks. Is that a good thing? Thank you. Angie

  5. Like most everyone else, I suspect I’m a mix of both, although I tend to lean towards Gram. I can be such a kill joy.


    • Very true. Gram has been fighting with me as I reply to comments here because she noticed some issues in my post and she wants to fix them. She’s embarrassed. I usually leave it unless it’s a big oopsy though. The two work well together when they learn to see the good in the other, just like any relationship. We need kill joys too 🙂 Angie


  1. Imma’s Challenge « Writing with both sides of my brain
  2. Room for Imperfections « Writing with both sides of my brain

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