Serendipity. Everything’s Connected – and also Fodder for the Writer

I went to Stanford University last night to see/hear Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides.

220px-eugenides_jeffreyEugenides spoke of serendipitous events that occurred for him while writing Middlesex…in a stuck moment of trying to excavate his mind for a description of his grandparents, he hears a knock on his door. He receives a UPS package. It’s a photo of his grandparents, steamed from its parchment-scroll state and newly framed .

Eugenides’ mother had sent it, unsolicited; she knew nothing of the book he was writing or his need for the description. His muse had returned. Serendipity.

Stuck moments, aka writer’s block, have occurred in most writers’ lives. Including mine. Prior promptings to write a blog–from my editor ( novel), my career coach, my wise and supportive friends–elicited nothing from me but a blank page. Nothing new for writers. Sometimes our muse just doesn’t appear.

But then I witnessed the IABC panel discussion on how collaboration between departments played a part in Hewlett Packard’s tremendously successful 2010 pilot branding campaign (read my article on collaboration)… and how, after Mark Hurd’s sudden departure, the new executive team squelched that campaign. While researching for the article, I was suddenly inspired to write Food for Thought, my first blog entry. The return of my muse. Serendipity.

The next day, in the doctor’s office, I see a Forbes article on Will.I.Am (Blackeyed Peas) will-i-am12659pwho teamed with Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, and HP to develop the sound system for HP’s Envy (computer). Naturally the article intrigues me; I’d just read some very interesting history on HP. Serendipity.

Turns out Will.I.Am is a futurist and innovator. He also collaborates with Coke to make clothing out of plastics. If you view this entertaining video of Will and Intel Futurist Brian Davis , you’ll hear him talking about being a wanna-be geek and about gangsta geeks. But more importantly, he talks about our relationship with technology and how we will eventually need to collaborate with it rather than be taken over by it. What will our contribution be? Will we be mere consumers? Or innovate, as Will did with Coke.

Says Will.I.Am, “How come people don’t put chips in the house?…toilets are mandatory…that’s a dumb house if it doesn’t have a chip.” He talks about Harry Potter’s wand. What’s the technology behind it? Is Intel inside?

What serendipitous topic WILL Will.I.Am inspire? A story about Jimmy Iovine or Dr. Dre? Toilets? Other innovative products? The humanity behind technology? Music? Any suggestions? Best, K.T.

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