Life at Warp 10

What’s the Secret to Making Relationships Last?

Making Relationships LastBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

There’s an old “joke” that says men marry women expecting they’ll never change and women marry men expecting they can change them. And they both end up disappointed.

I’ve been thinking about that since I went to listen to a woodwind quintet a week ago. It wasn’t the quintet themselves that got me thinking (though their music was beautiful). It was the announcement that the next classical performance would be a string quartet playing Beethoven’s Opus 131.

Beethoven’s Opus 131 is unique. Instruments go out of tune as you play them, so in most performances there are breaks which allow the musicians to re-tune.

But not in Beethoven’s Opus 131. He wrote it without those breaks on purpose. Each instrument in the quartet would go out of tune in its own way, at its own time, and the musicians would need to adjust as it happened. It required an additional level of skill, commitment, and focus.

Director Yaron Zilberman chose Opus 131 as the central symbol for his film A Late Quartet because he believed that what happens in Opus 131 represents what happens to all of us in our relationships. With the exertion and activity, right and wrong notes, time and wear, we all change. None of us are the same at the end of our lives as we were at the beginning. And life doesn’t stop so that we can re-tune.

We have to make adjustments as we go or eventually we’ll be so out of tune with those we’re playing with that it will be painful for all involved and we’ll need to stop and walk away.

I’d never thought about it that way before, but I’ve seen it happen in my long-lasting friendships. On Sunday I had coffee with one of my best friends. Our friendship has lasted for 18 years, through high school, into being university roommates, into volunteering together, into her being maid-of-honor at my wedding, into navigating the waters of careers and home ownership and adding other people into our lives. We’re not the same girls we were when we met. Yet we’re still friends and expect to be friends for the rest of our lives.

I’m now seeing the same in my marriage. We have love. We have commitment. We have friendship. But as we head out of the “honeymoon” years of marriage and into the long haul, we’re being forced to look at what it takes to make a relationship last for a lifetime. We aren’t the exact same people who got married three years ago. We’ve changed.

So knowing we all change, we have to ask—what’s the secret to making a relationship last?

I think Beethoven and Zilberman were right. It’s the willingness to make the little adjustments as you go. Accepting responsibility for your part. Setting aside your expectations of what things “should” be like and instead finding a way to make them beautiful just the way they are.

Do you agree with me? Disagree? What would you say is the secret to making relationships (both friendship and romantic) last?

I hope you’ll check out the newly released mini-books in my Busy Writer’s Guides series–Strong Female Characters and How to Write Faster–both currently available for 99 cents.

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Gravity: The Number One Reason to Never Give Up

Gravity movieBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Do you ever have those days (or weeks or months) where one thing after another seems to go wrong? Or maybe things are going right, but not as right as you’d thought they would? Or you’re just plain tired of working so hard to stay in the same place?

And you think about giving up. Giving up on that project or job or relationship.

It’s tempting because you feel like nothing you try works. You feel alone.

In the movie Gravity, engineer and first-time astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) ends up as the sole survivor of an accident in space. Her shuttle is destroyed and she’s running out of oxygen. She’s lost contact with mission control on earth.

Worse, everything she tries only seems to make her situation worse. She makes it to the International Space Station, only to find the crew there has already evacuated to escape the same debris field that destroyed her shuttle. The parachute on the only remaining module has been accidentally deployed due to damage from the debris field, making it useless for returning to earth.

Before she can successfully make contact with anyone on the space station’s radio, the station catches fire. She escapes in the module, planning to use its thrusters to reach the Chinese space station Tiangong and use one of its modules to return to earth instead. Except the thrusters are out of fuel.

When she finally reaches the Chinese stations, its orbit is deteriorating (also due to being shoved out of position by the debris field), and she can’t dock with it. She shoots herself across space using explosive decompression and a fire extinguisher and barely makes it inside.

And just when she thinks she’s safe, just when it seems like nothing else could go wrong, when the module lands into a lake, a fire causes her to need to pop the hatch. Water rushes in and drags the module underwater. Ryan forces her way out, but her space suit is too heavy and she can’t swim.

She sheds her spacesuit and swims to shore.

As my husband and I watched this movie, I couldn’t help but think about how there was something to be learned from Gravity about what we can do when we feel like giving up.

Think outside the box and try something different.

When Ryan was inside the module with no thruster fuel, she realized that she had to find an unconventional solution to her problem. She couldn’t keep trying the traditional solution because it wasn’t going to work.

She found a way to trick the module into firing its landing thrusters instead (the ones that are only supposed to fire when the module senses it’s a certain distance from the earth’s surface).

Sometimes the solution to our problem isn’t giving up. Sometimes the solution is to look at our situation a different way.

Walk through your fear and discomfort.

At the start of the movie, one of the biggest things holding Ryan back from making it back to earth alive was her own fear and space sickness. She kept focusing on what would happen if she didn’t succeed.

It’s easy when things aren’t going right to allow our fear of what could possibly happen cloud our judgment or make us freeze. But we won’t succeed unless we push past our fear and what ifs.

And most of all, don’t lose hope.

The number one reason to never give up is we don’t know what will happen next (Click to tweet this.)

If Ryan had given up at any point along the way, she wouldn’t have made it safely back to earth. We can’t know what the next minute, hour, or day will bring. And maybe if we hold on and keep trying, it will be the turn for the better we were waiting for.

Have you felt like giving up on something lately? What do you do when this happens?

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Related Posts:
When Is It Time to Quit on Our Dreams?
The Dangerous Side of Hope

What Star Wars Character Are You?

Star Wars The Empire Strikes BackBy Marcy Kennedy (@Marcy Kennedy)

Every few months I like to do a crazy personality quiz here. The first quiz (What Star Trek Race Are You?) started because of a disagreement my husband and I were having, and I had such fun with the quiz that since then I’ve also done What Lord of the Rings Character Are You? I have many more I’d like to do in the future, and this week that means What Star Wars Character Are You?

Here’s how it works. Read the descriptions below and write down the letter of the one that’s most like you. (Don’t look for it to be exact, since you might be a child of two of the characters.) At the end, I’ll tell you what character you picked

(A) You’re confident, sometimes to the point of arrogance, loyal to those who are loyal to you, and you believe the rules are often arbitrary or unnecessarily restrictive. Despite this, your motivation is always the greater good.

(B) You have a quiet strength and determination that people respect. When a tough situation arises, you deal with it with tact and diplomacy, and you believe the rules are there for a good reason. We should respect the people in authority and the rules they make.

(C) You struggle to make decisions, largely because you underestimate your own abilities. You see things in black and white and are uncomfortable with the grey areas. Seeing the world in black and white, as good and evil, also makes you willing to sacrifice yourself for what you believe is right.

(D) You’re a born creative who thinks outside the box. Rather than repeatedly beating against a barrier, you try to find a way around, under, or over it. Unfortunately, this can also make you impetuous and impulsive, and can sometimes get you into trouble.

(E) Your biggest flaw is that you worry too much, including about what other people think. This leaves you unable to stand up for yourself, but also comes with a benefit. You’re able to see the flaws in a plan and analyze the chances for success better than anyone else.

(F) You have a taste for the finer things in life. You’re a shrewd businessperson when it comes to forwarding your own interests. This means you sometimes hurt people, but you regret when you do and you strive to make it right.

ANSWER KEY:

Do not go farther until you’ve picked your letter!!

(A) You’re Han Solo. As a Corellian, Han has no use for the odds because he believes he can beat them. He’s also learned from experience that laws were made by people in ivory towers and don’t usually apply well to the rough world he lives in, so he lives by his own code. Under his roguish exterior hides a heart of gold.

(B) You’re Leia Organa. Not only was Leia a princess of Alderaan, but she was also a member of the Imperial Senate until Darth Vader realized she was actually working with the Rebel Alliance. Unlike Han, she believes in going through the proper, official channels whenever possible, but she also believes that, if evil people gain power, they should be unseated: The government is meant to rule for the best interest of all. She was an exemplary diplomat.

(C) You’re Luke Skywalker. Everyone knows Luke as the “hero” of the Star Wars movies, but Luke didn’t see himself as a hero. He didn’t want to be a Jedi at the beginning, and when he was training with Yoda he was constantly talking about what he couldn’t do. He had to get past that and learn to trust his abilities before he could succeed. His black-and-white view of the world was a strength, but also a weakness.

(D) You’re R2-D2. He might have been a droid, but he was arguably the most creative of the Star Wars characters. While the others stood around talking about what to do, he jumped in and started testing ideas. Sometimes that got him into close calls and put his friends in danger, but sometimes it also got them out of it.

(E) You’re C-3PO. C-3PO was always giving them the odds of success, to the point where Han admonished him, “Never tell me the odds!” What he might be most known for, though, is his groveling. He was always apologizing for someone else’s actions in the hope of avoiding repercussions, and he rarely stood up for himself.

(F) You’re Lando Calrissian. Lando betrayed Han, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO into the hands of Darth Vader, even though Han was supposed to be his friend, in order to save his city, Bespin’s Cloud City (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back). But, when it really counted later, Lando made amends by helping save Han and the Rebels, and he and Han stayed friends throughout their lives.

Which Star Wars character (or combo) did you end up as?

Who Makes You Want to Be a Better Person?

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I had a light-hearted quiz post prepared for today (and you’ll still see it next week), but I couldn’t post it. I felt the need to re-post something I wrote two years ago. You see, Saturday was the 12th anniversary of the death of one of my dearest friends, and this past week another friend of mine lost her son. He was only 24 years old. An unexpected health complication took him from those who loved him.

So I needed to re-run this post in honor of the memory of both Amanda and James because I know that he was to many people what she was to me.

****

“I have forgotten that men cannot see unicorns. If men no longer know what they’re looking at, there may be other unicorns in the world yet, unknown, and glad of it.”—The Last Unicorn (1982 movie) based on the novel by Peter S. Beagle.

Unicorn

Don’t believe anyone who tells you unicorns don’t exist. I’ve met one. And no, I’m not talking about those pictures that occasionally circle the internet of goats who’ve had their horns trained to twist together.

I’ve met a real, live unicorn. She just didn’t look like what most people might expect.

Accounts differ about where the unicorn legend originated, but the most consistent picture of them is of a white horse with a single spiral horn growing from their forehead. As every little girl will tell you, they’re exceptionally beautiful.

Their horn soon became known as the bane of evil. A unicorn horn could drive away evil, neutralize poison, and kill any monster it came into contact with. Both their horn and their blood were said to have healing properties.

In China, unicorns came to symbolize wisdom. They were the kings among the animals. In the United Kingdom, they symbolized purity and many kings made them part of their heraldry.

They were and are beloved for a very simple reason.

Unicorns are the embodiment of good.

My unicorn had dark hair, hands that were cold even in summer, and an infectious laugh. She was exceptionally beautiful both inside and out.

Her name was Amanda, and she was one of my best friends. In 2001, a repeat-offender drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit and a suspended license slammed into her driver’s side door at 100/mph (160 km/h). After 21 hours in a coma, she died. In a way, it was a blessing. The doctors said even if she’d woken up, she’d never have been the Amanda we knew again.

For a year, I brought flowers to her grave every Friday. I went because I missed her, but to be honest, I think I went more because of the fear that if I skipped even one week it would mean I’d forgotten her. And she deserved to be remembered.

Then, a year after her death, sitting on the soggy ground beside her grave, I finally realized the best way to honor and remember her wasn’t to sit in the cold and cry. It wasn’t to bring her flowers. It was to let her life and who she was motivate me to be a better person.

When you cut away all the myths and speculations and stories, unicorns are the things that make us want to be better simply by knowing of them, by being around them. They are what we aspire to be.

Amanda was far from perfect, but I can’t remember the imperfections anymore. What I do remember is her creativity, her cheerfulness, her refusal to let anyone change who she was, her determination and strong work ethic, her soft heart for hurting people.

The qualities I still remember best about her are the ones I want people to one day remember about me too.

I’m far from perfect. I’m still far from being the person I want to be. But I hope that one day, if I keep working at it, I’ll be someone’s unicorn too.

Who’s your unicorn? What is it about them that you so admire? How have they helped you become a better person?

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Is Chasing Your Dream Preventing You From Living?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Over the summer, I dropped my blogging schedule down to one day a week. I also took a real vacation for the first time in three years. I did those things for a very specific reason.

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry finds the Mirror of Erised that shows him his parents (who are dead) standing next to him. At first he thinks the mirror has brought his parents back to life. He shows the mirror to his best friend Ron, thinking Ron will be able to see Harry’s parents as well, but Ron doesn’t. Instead Ron sees himself as Quidditch Captain and Head Boy.

The mirror, it turns out, shows each person what they want most. As Dumbledore put it, “the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.”

Harry goes back night after night, just to be able to see his parents again. Eventually Dumbledore finds him there, and tells him that the mirror will be moved. He asks Harry not to look for it again. As wonderful as it is to look into the mirror and see your most cherished dream come to life, that’s exactly where the danger of the mirror also lies. Men have wasted their lives staring into the mirror.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams,” Dumbledore says, “and forget to live.”

That’s the danger I think all of us face when there’s a dream we want so badly that we focus our life on seeing it come to fruition—we forget to live.

There’s nothing wrong with focusing our efforts on achieving our dreams. There’s value in sacrificing in the short term in order to reach our long-term goals. In fact, we’re generally going to be happier and healthier people when we do pursue our dreams.

But we can’t chase our dreams at the expense of living life day by day.

Sometimes when we’re always looking forward, we miss the joy of the moments happening around us. Many people have written about this lately (including my good friend Lisa Hall-Wilson), but as much as we’re told to “live in the moment,” we’re also given the message that we should sacrifice whatever it takes to reach our dreams.

Just get up earlier to write. But what if that means you’re only getting four hours of sleep a night? Should we be sacrificing our health to reach our dreams?

Go back to school if you want a better job. But what if you need to work full-time to support your family? Should we sacrifice time with our spouses or children, missing out on years of their lives, in order to get what we want?

Tell your friends you can’t get together because you need to do thus-and-so in pursuit of your dream. But how long can we expect people to remain our friends if we never have time for them? Will you be content at the end of your life if you’ve achieved your dream and have no one to share it with?

When do we cross that line between chasing our dream and forgetting to live?

I can’t tell you where that line is for you, but this summer I’ve been evaluating where that line is for me. Balancing on that line will mean cutting out some things, reintroducing others, working a little less, and living a little more.

Does this mean I want my dream less than someone else wants theirs?

I don’t think so. I think it means I’ve broadened my dream. Instead of my dream being the “end goal,” my dream now includes the day-to-day. It includes how I want to live each day in order to look back on my life with contentment when I’m old. It includes how I want to live each day with the knowledge that none of us knows how long we have.

And those day-to-day, mundane dreams are just as valuable to me as “the dream” that I chase. I’m not going to waste my life staring into the mirror.

What about you? Have you found the balance between chasing your big dream and living your life? Do you think one is more important than the other?

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The Dangerous Side of Hope

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

In a world that can be dark and brutal and unfair, hope is one of our most powerful weapons. It can also be a weapon used against us, to keep us from changing our lives.

In the movie version of The Hunger Games, the screenwriters chose to pull back the curtain and give us a look at what was happening with President Snow and the game-makers while Katniss was in the arena. (I love that they did this.) In one scene, President Snow summons Seneca Crane, the head game-maker, and asks him an unusual question.

“Seneca,” he says, “why do you think we have a winner?”

Seneca frowns. “What do you mean?”

“If we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not round up twenty-four of them at random and execute them all at once? It would be a lot faster.”

Seneca doesn’t know how to answer.

President Snow almost smiles. “Hope. It’s the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. Spark is fine, as long as it’s contained.

President Snow realized what most of us don’t. Hope, like many other great things, has a dangerous side.

A little hope is what keeps us in a bad job, a bad relationship, or any bad situation. We have just enough hope that we tell ourselves if we stay long enough something might change. We might get that promotion, that raise we deserve. They might realize how wonderful we are and treat us better.

For all the people in the districts in The Hunger Games, seeing one victor gave them just enough hope that their lives might get better if they persevered long enough. That little thread of hope kept them controlled.

But a lot of hope is what freed them. And it’s what can free us.

Because Katniss didn’t play by the Capital’s rules, and because she succeeded due to daring to try something different, she gave the people of the districts a bigger hope. A hope that said they could change things rather than waiting for something to change.

A little hope convinces us to wait, that if we’re patient, things will naturally change for the better. A lot of hope convinces us to act, that if we take the initiative, we’ll be able to have something better than what we have now. It tells us we’re strong enough, smart enough, valuable enough, brave enough. It tells us we can change our circumstances if we’re willing to take a risk.

Those of you who come to my blog regularly know my husband and I have decided we’re tired of having just a little hope. It’s time for a lot of hope. So he’s going back to school, and I’m self-publishing (first book will release next month if all goes well!), and yes, we’re both afraid. Terrified really.

But hope is stronger than fear.

What risk have you taken lately in the hope of making your life better?

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How Important Is Freedom?

Superman Man of SteelBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Man of Steel is supposed to be a story about the origin of Superman. It’s really a story about the importance of freedom.

On Krypton, Superman’s home planet, everyone is created for a specific purpose. They have no choice about the path their life will take. Superman’s parents dream of a free Krypton, so they conceive and give birth to him naturally. In doing so, they give him back the freedom of choice for what kind of man he wants to be.

And growing up as Clark Kent on Earth, Superman struggles with this. His earthly father encourages him to hide who he is at all costs, but Superman chooses to help others even if it puts him in danger of exposing who he is.

When General Zod of Krypton appears, Superman realizes why his birth parents made the choices they did. He chooses again to allow Krypton to go extinct rather than allowing Zod to commit genocide on the human race.

“I exist only to protect Krypton,” Zod says. “That is the sole purpose for which I was born. And every action I take, no matter how violent or how cruel, is for the greater good of my people. And now, I have no people. My soul—that is what you have taken from me!”

When he lost his freedom to choose to be something different, Zod lost other qualities as well, like compassion, hope, and morals. With Krypton and its people gone for good, Zod has no reason to live.

Few of us who live in free countries would argue that freedom isn’t important.

Its innate value is why many science fiction and fantasy books and movies explore it—and what could happen if it was taken away.

Battlestar Galactica took a look at freedom from the opposite side as Man of Steel. The Twelve Colonies were free. They had a president and elected representatives. People chose their careers and could change their lot in life through hard work. Then the cylons attacked, wiping out all but around 50,000 humans.

Running for their lives and looking for a new home, the remaining humans were forced to live on a small fleet of ships. This meant that people were pressed into jobs based on the needs of the fleet, such as working the fuel processing ship. They couldn’t change their job, and worse, their children were being trained up in the same job without any chance to be anything else.

But what other choice did they have? If the fleet had any hope of survival, they needed fuel processing, and waste processing, and all the other jobs done. They suspended freedom. They felt it was for the greater good.

In the episode “Dirty Hands,” after a labor strike that almost devolves into mutiny, the government of the fleet decides freedom is important enough that they have to protect it along with their survival. They institute training programs and a work rotation.  

But it raised an interesting question, one our own society is facing today, about whether there’s ever a time when certain freedoms should be suspended. Or is freedom of such a high value that it shouldn’t be violated in any circumstance, no matter the cost?

What do you think? Is there ever a time when freedom should be sacrificed for the greater good, or is freedom something that should never be violated?

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Do the Odds of Success Really Matter?

Star Wars The Empire Strikes BackBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I have a creative’s heart and a scientist’s mind. I like facts and formulas. I like logic. I like percentages and statistics.

I don’t like when the odds aren’t in my favor on something I really want. Because I have a strong rational side, odds that aren’t in my favor make me want to move on to something with a better chance of success.

I’ve been feeling that way lately listening to the talk about the publishing world. Traditionally, odds of success as a writer were terrible. According to the BEA’s industry analysis, as late as 2004 writers had a 93% failure rate. Most books published sold less than 1,000 copies, and authors were always told not to quit their day jobs because they wouldn’t be able to make a full-time living from their work.

Then the self-publishing boom hit, and for a little while, it seemed like things were changing. We fed our dreams on stories of people like Amanda Hocking and, more recently, Hugh Howey. We started to hear about writers who couldn’t have made a living in traditional publishing now bringing in full-time income as self-published authors.  

But how many? Behind the scenes, there were also a lot of writers who were frustrated and discouraged because they weren’t making a full-time living, especially now that the early gold rush season is past. In fact, a survey in 2011 of self-published authors found that the average amount earned was $10,000. Half of the authors surveyed made less than $500/year. That’s okay as a bonus but certainly not enough to live on.

So we have to ask ourselves if we’re going to listen to the odds, or if we’re going to be like a Corellian and flip the odds the bird.

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Corellian Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the droid C-3PO are being chased by Empire ships intent on destroying them. Han decides to head into an asteroid field because the Empire ships won’t be able to follow them (at least not as easily).

“Sir,” C-3PO says, “the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to one.”

Han doesn’t even ease up on his speed. “Never tell me the odds!”

C-3PO telling Han the odds and Han ignoring them becomes a running joke in the movie, but it’s based in the idea that in the Star Wars universe, people from Han’s home world of Corellia don’t care about the odds.  

My husband, one of the biggest Star Wars fans I know, couldn’t tell me why Corellians ignore the odds, so I went digging to learn more about Corellians and see if I could solve the puzzle.

What I discovered was Corellians don’t just ignore the odds because they’re crazy or stupid. It’s not that the numbers don’t matter. (Because let’s face it, we’d be fool-hardy to completely ignore the numbers.)

So what makes Corellians feel like they can beat the odds? And what makes them succeed at beating the odds?

Corellians like a challenge.

If you’re the type of person who when someone says “you can’t,” replies with “watch me,” then you understand the love of a challenge. When Corellians look at a situation where they have a 10% chance of success, they hear that it’s not hopeless. As long as it’s not hopeless, they believe they’re the ones who’ll beat the odds, so they take a chance and try.  

Corellians trust their skills and abilities.

When Han Solo flew into the asteroid field, when he later made a direct attack on a Star Destroyer, he did it because he was an amazing pilot. He had years of practice. Corellians ignore and beat the odds because they know where their abilities lie, they’re prepared, and they know how to use their skills to the best of their advantage.

Corellians are extremely adaptable.

Corellians’ innovative natures are a large contributor to their disregard for the odds because they can adapt when it looks like the odds aren’t going to go in their favor and find a way to get around whatever the obstacle is.

When Han Solo made the direct attack on the Star Destroyer, he hid on top of the command tower so the Star Destroyer couldn’t detect them. The problem was they couldn’t move because as soon as they left their position, they’d be spotted. But Destroyers vent their waste before going to hyperspace. And that gave Han the opportunity to have their ship drift off with the waste.

What do you think? Should we let the odds discourage us? Or should we take a lesson from Corellians and find a way to beat them?

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Is Technology Killing Our Creativity?

Iron Man 3By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I don’t camp. I prefer to be in a place with electricity and running water. I’ve owned a Kindle for years, and I’ve been using computers since the only game you could play on them was pong.

I’m not someone who thinks the world was better off before technology.

But I am someone who’s wondering what our dependence on technology might be doing to our long-term ability as a society to think creatively and to innovate.

Reliance on technology hurt Iron Man Tony Stark.

After fighting the aliens in New York during the final showdown in The Avengers, Tony Stark—a creative genius—is in a tailspin. Every time he thinks about New York, he has a panic attack. His technology failed him, and he almost died as a consequence. Since then, he’s made over 40 upgrades to his suit, tweaking and tinkering.

At the start of Iron Man 3, what he’s ended up with is a suit that malfunctions more than it works.

One of those malfunctions strands him in Tennessee (he started in California). He scrounges parts to try to repair his suit, but still can’t get it to charge properly. With no suit, he doesn’t know what to do.

Then a little boy reminds him what he is. He’s a mechanic. The suit isn’t Iron Man. He, Tony Stark, is Iron Man.

His creativity created the Iron Man suit. When he became overly dependent on the technology he created, he lost that creativity.

It wasn’t until his suit was taken away that he got his creativity back. He breaks into the Mandarin’s mansion using items he could buy at a hardware store and rig in the little boy’s shed.

I wonder sometimes if we aren’t raising a generation who will have the same problem. All the technological inventions of the past 20-30 years came from a generation that was forced to use their brains and creativity apart from advanced technology in order to create it. But will the next generation be able to innovate apart from their current technology or will their creativity be stunted by it?

Is a generation coming who won’t know how to write, only to type? Is a generation coming who can’t do mathematical calculations by hand, using their mind? Is a generation coming who doesn’t need to remember anything for themselves because the answer is only an internet search away?

And if those things are true, will their minds be as sharp as the great men and women of the past who enabled us to reach this point in the first place?

I don’t have the answers, but I’d love to know what you think. Are we in danger of allowing technology to kill our creativity? What might be the solution if we are?

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Top 5 Science Fiction and Fantasy Foods that Sound Good Enough to Eat

 

Turkish Delight C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

One of the things I love most is when the creator of another world makes me crave a food or drink that doesn’t exist. For fun, I thought I’d make a list of the top 5 I’m desperate to try.

Klingon Raktajino from Star Trek

My husband frequently jokes that he’s going to buy me a shirt that reads “Instant human. Just add coffee.” So, as you might imagine, a coffee was going to make this list.

Raktajino is a strong, dark coffee introduced to Federation citizens by the Klingons. Barely an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine goes by when someone doesn’t order one. I’ll take mine extra sweet, thank you.

Butterbeer from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

I want to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando just so I can try a butterbeer. Based on the Harry Potter movies, it looks thick and creamy, and it’s topped with foam. I’ve heard talk that it tastes like butterscotch.

EAT ME Cakes and DRINK ME Bottles from Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland

I’d only want to try these in a controlled environment (after all, I don’t want to be eaten by my own cats or crash through the roof of my house), but it’d be a lot of fun to be giant or tiny for a little while.

Turkish Delights from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Turkish Delights exist in our world. They’re basically flavored gelatin coated in powdered sugar or covered in chocolate. They’re a bit like a giant jelly bean center really.

The Turkish Delights in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are enchanted so that once you eat one, you desperately want another and will keep eating them until someone stops you or you die. I don’t like that aspect of it, but my theory is that means they’re the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted. I’d just need to make sure to eat them with someone trustworthy around to stop me.

Fizzy Lifting Drinks from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I read all Roald Dahl’s books multiple times as a kid. While I would also love to drink from the chocolate river and try the gum that tastes like a whole meal (as long as I didn’t end up as a giant blueberry), the treat that appealed to me most were the drinks that would make you float. I’ve always wanted to fly 🙂

Your turn—what imaginary food or drink would you love to try?

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