Monday, February 8, 2010

Uncluttering Your Creativity and Molten Lava Cake

Don't let the sun go down before you take advantage of the information in this posting.

Okay, that was a cheesy way to try to make my La Jolla sunset photo a part of this week's post. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Are you on Facebook? If so, let me know. I think I am there, Carol Newman (there are several of us - look for my photo -- same as the website). Actually, I got an “invitation” from someone to be her friend. I thought I was signing up to be her friend, but the next thing I knew, I actually had created my own page. Then I thought I was clicking on a photo of a friend’s friend’s children, but actually, I had just asked the person, a slight acquaintance, to be my friend. Because I thought I was just “fooling around,” my profile is incomplete and maybe even inaccurate, but there it is. I should heed the frequent advice of my young advisor: Stop clicking around!

On a lifelong quest to manage my piles of paper and books, I requested the book
Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What's Holding You Back by Brooks Palmer Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer. This fellow may have appeared on Oprah. (Television watching is part of my clutter – clutter up my day with unnecessary TV watching.) Anyway, for the first time, a book on clutter made sense to me and I have been getting rid of stuff. Two points that really resonated with me were: 1. You don’t have to keep something just because it was expensive. 2. You don’t have to keep something just because it was a gift.

Don’t we use our creativity to excuse our clutter? I sure do. Palmer’s theory is that our clutter holds us back from being creative. Get rid of stuff and feel your mind and spirit open up. Your library probably has the book. It’s worth a look.


This tip from
Think Like a Genius will assuage your anxiety about getting rid of your clutter. It’s an opportunity for more instead of less:

Be prolific. Try for quantity before quality. To produce exceptionally good work, do a lot of whatever you're doing. It increases your chances for success and it means you will get more practice along the way. It also takes the pressure off, knowing that while an effort may be your first, it will likely not be your last. Most geniuses in history, whatever they were doing, they did a LOT of it, and not all of it was genius!

The importance of lots of practice is discussed in greater detail and with specific stories about successful people in the book
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This is a very interesting book, but, in a way, I found it a little depressing. Fun, but depressing. Depends. I guess the “be prolific” aspect would override the depressing aspects of luck and chance.


Great parties I have attended or given. Write more. If you write ten minutes a day, extend that to fifteen, or twenty minutes. Or write twice a day. Or write all morning. Or a couple of hours in the afternoon. This week, you are writing about great parties. That should be fun. Good motivation, huh?

Recipes now will be found here, in the Chocolate Inkwell.

Regarding the chocolate chess pie, I heard from Susan, who grew up in Tennessee, that chess pie is like pecan pie but without the pecans. She is adamant that chess pie never includes chocolate. When asked about how last week’s chocolate chess pie recipe may have come about, she suggests possible corruption of the recipe by a Yankee. Does that make you feel like exploding? Look at the following recipe from the Paula Deen website. Difficulty level of this recipe was labeled “easy.”


6 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (As I looked at other recipes for this cake, I saw that many used Kahluah or strong coffee in place of orange liqueur. The coffee sounds most appealing to me.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups. Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur (or coffee). Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.

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