The Creative Spark! – Your Last Lecture

Do you know what makes a great ad or great essay? Oxytocin bonding hormones. You know, the hormones you get when you first hug your newborn baby.

My Hindu friend posts tear-jerker ads from India on Facebook. Like Bollywood movies, Hindu ads contain moral messages. But ads from India make you smile, laugh, and think?like a “last lecture.”

When I peer at Facebook, the Indian ads and Western ads look like opposites. While watching Western ads, I spurt cortisol stress hormones?as callous companies push products. While watching Indian ads, I spurt oxytocin bonding hormones?as warm actors share wisdom. Dalai Lama claims that every bit of wisdom makes “impressions” on our minds (like chisels on ice sculptures).

The West excels on pursuing external results, while the East looks internal. For instance, my boyfriend served as a Western trendsetter. He was meditating in the mid-90’s and reading Eastern spirituality. At that time, mindful meditation hadn’t come in vogue as people pursued the too cool to care attitudes of grunge, and heroin chic of Kate Moss,

Yet, Buddhists say the West lacks the foundation behind mindful meditation. (Perhaps adding universal spiritual rules will mark the next stage.) And next-in-line, Western researchers will copy India’s moral ad model.

So, when you write your essays, model India?to heighten the right hormones. Next, let’s spurt any sensible Canadian’s oxytocin by sharing wisdom from Pete Barry’s bible called The Advertising Concept Book. I boldface his comments below.

“A great ad not only stops you, it may also make you smile, laugh, or think” (p. 165). Your aim in writing essays evolves around making readers smile, laugh, or think.

To make people laugh, refer to Joe Toplyn’s bible called Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV. Even if your jokes garner groans, you’ll advance your writing within a week. What better way to make Fortran, physics, or phenomenology funny?

Use natural objects and locations to make a message. Consider using common objects in your school presentations to reveal a message. For instance, your school uniform’s jacket zipper, when fully zipped, could read, “Free speech.” I know. I know. Government won’t fund the cliché.

Music can reveal a character’s feelings. Use music in your presentations to convey emotion or tone. A piece of music behind your speech can create a second layer of meaning or strengthen your message.

What do I mean by a second layer of meaning? Well, in prior articles, we explored how actors can have multiple?even conflicting reasons?behind actions. You might talk about the power of music in healing soldiers with Alzheimer’s and PTSD, and play a song about widowed war brides.

If you can’t find the right music, sample the opposite. Or, you could choose a song about childhood sweethearts getting married.

Imply. don’t show it all. To enhance your presentations, use implied imagery. For instance, feature a war helmet stuck in mud to signify brain trauma in soldiers. don’t show the entire soldier stuck in mud. Minimize the imagery as much as possible without losing meaning.

Think up a benefit to your product, put it in the center of a mind map, and branch out phrase- or word-associations. Circle all the associations with potential. Use these in headlines, visuals, or taglines. Remember, in last week’s article, we talked about discovering the “So what?” in your essays. To answer the “so what,” try making mind maps of word associations from your essays.

For instance, put your general topic in the center of your mind map. Then branch this into your three (or so) major themes. Next, branch these themes into word associations. Keep branching until you feel drained. Then, circle all the ideas that might serve as problems. Find any overlap in the problems among the three themes. That’s when the magic begins.

Has your cortisol spiked yet? Well, put a photo of your loved ones in your line of sight. Like an Indian advertiser, write to make them smile, laugh, or think. In other words, pretend each essay is your last lecture.

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