Monthly Archives: May 2016

Disney will be filming Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” soon. Jennifer Lee of the wildly popular Disney movie “Frozen” has written a screenplay. Its a science fantasy novel about a young girl (misfit) whose father, a government scientist, went missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract.

Not an easy book to convert to film. I read the graphic novel version. L’Engle reading a book on quantum physics when she wrote this Children novel. It went on to be rejected by 26 publishers.

Fast forward many years – it was picked up only when she threw a party for her mom. One of mom’s guests happened to know a publisher (who didn’t publish children’s books at that time), aka JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame.

In Creativity, L’Engle told Prof Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, that she wasn’t very bright and didn’t do well in her early school years.

But a bad school experience “shunned by peers and teachers”, forced her to read and think alone. (On hindsight, would she have written her books if she had been happy and successful. She had learned to turn her disadvantage into advantage.

Later in college, she found supportive teachers and her literary career became confirmed. Her family environment was also supportive. Her fiction reflects this theme, of “doomsday scenarios that reach a happy ending because the main characters never lose hope even in the grimmest situation and they learn from adversity to act with mercy and forgiveness.”

“This whole century has been difficult, but wonderful things have happened even while there’s terrible things. … Its like the weather, unpredictable. The amazing thing is that despite all the things that happen, the human spirit still manages to survive to stay strong.”

This is also a relevant book for our times. One of the themes is how IT forces people into conformity.

When life gives you onion, make French onion soup

When life gives you onion, make French onion soup


Photo: art installation of isomalt salt and chocolate depicting corals reef under the Sea by the talented dessert chef Janice Wong of 2am. Janice has found time to do art installations, run her edible art dessert business and experiment with new creations in her creative lab in Holland Road, Singapore and in Tokyo, Japan.

The installation can be found in the Singapore Art Museum.

Parkinson’s law
When I find that I’ve a lot of time on hand, the work expands to fill the time taken for completion.

That explains the saying, give work to a busy person, s/he is more likely to complete it.


How do you maximise your odds of creating a masterpiece – come up with a large number of ideas.


Dean Simonton, who studies creative productivity found that creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers – they simply produce a greater volume of work.

Shakespeare in 2 decades produced 37 plays and 154 sonnets. In the same 5 year period that Shakespeare produced Macbeth, King Lear and Othello, he also produced Timon of Athens that rank among his worst work.

Mozart composed more than 600 pieces of classical music, Beethoven -650 pieces and Bach over 1000 pieces.

Picasso produced 1800 paintings, 1200 sculptures, 2800 ceramics and 12,000 drawings not to mention prints, rugs and tapestries.

Many of Einstein’s 248 publications had minimal impact.

Edison had 1,093 patents but famous for the light bulb, the phonograph and the carbon telephone.

From “Originals – how non conformists move the world” by Adam Grant.

Qi Baishi whose painting sold for a few millions, was living below poverty as a painter and became famous only in his 50s and had produced 30,000 paintings, more than 3,000 poems and about 3,000 carvings. 

Vincent van Gogh who only started painting in his twenties, produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. (His work didn’t sell well in his lifetime.)

So what are you doing tomorrow? Time to close the smartphone and do some real work?