Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lateral Thinking

I spent this past weekend with some amazing authors and industry professionals at the SCBWI Carolinas conference. Except it was only when John Claude Bemis gave the closing speech that I felt I was truly swimming in my element.

His talk was about lateral thinking, which apparently expats and multilinguals do very well.

I was like: Hey! That's me! Until he gave us the warm up exercise and I couldn't come up with any evidence that I deserved the points.

In my defense, it was a low-caf Sunday morning and I'd just been bombarded with three days of information. Anyway - my contribution is a red fez - to anyone else who was there.

So Sunday night I go home to mull over everything I've learned. I pick up the short stories on the nightstand, figuring if I could get a few of those in, it would quiet the buzz in my head.

Picture this:

I'm reading in bed, engrossed in the story of an asphalt layer (John Grisham's contribution to Don't Quit Your Day Job) when my dear, dear, dearest husband mutters:

Cordless Super Jerky Blaster?

Now, usually, I ignore everyone and keep reading, but the odd combination of words just pulled me right out of the book.

Me: Did you just say Cordless Super Jerky Blaster?

You should know, my husband speaks English as a fifth language (very well, I might add) so he can be... mislead by some phrases. But he was reading the Nothern Tool catalog.

He offers me the catalog with a gesture that says "Please, help me understand!"

And here's where I:

1) Start laughing until my sides split


2) Come up with some great lateral thinking

All I could picture was:

Codename: Kids Next Door

via wikipedia
Have you seen this bunch of ten year olds take down an adult lately? Well, the Cordless Super Jerky Blaster looks EXACTLY like something they would use. AND the next pages in the tool catalog feature go carts to mount them on! Plus a plethora of other interesting items, but I'll let you explore them on your own.

The point of all this is: You don't need to be an ex-expat, or multilingual, or a transplant to find ideas for your lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is just ordinary stuff that you use in an extraordinary way.


Sarah said...

Did you end up purchasing the cordless super jerky blaster? I'm not even sure I want to know how such a thing could be used. So much for my own lateral thinking skills!

Deniz Bevan said...

A great story! Sometimes English is funny the way it cobbles words together, but hey, Turkish does the same: Cekoslovakyalilastiramadiklarimizdanmisiniz? :-)

LTM said...

BAH!!! that would most definitely have pulled me from my book, too. Although my hubs often spouts crazy stuff like that to GET me to stop reading and look at him. Very Bart Simpson... :D

Anway, fun stuff. And I see the correlation~ <3

Carolyn V said...

Hee hee, that is so cool. I would stop reading too. ;)

KatOwens: Insect Collector said...

Hooray for lateral thinking! I'm curious what his exercise to test its presence or absence was?

And I will definitely have to fit Cordless Super Jerky Blaster into a conversation this weekend. said...

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