We were working a book together, at his place, and before we started he turned to a monkey bobblehead on his desk and said, “Ready to go?”
“Are you talking to that monkey,” I asked.
“Of course,” he said, “that monkey helps me out.” He wasn’t even embarrassed about it, he said it like I was stupid for asking.
It turns out that everywhere he works he has a different toy, in his case all of them are monkeys, that he talks to before he starts work and then thanks when he’s done. It’s like he has created a magical creativity token for himself. He gives the monkey credit for the ideas, keeps all the money for himself, and when he’s stuck for ideas he pays attention to the monkey for a bit until an idea comes to him.
He uses all monkeys, but he claims that it works with any toy that has a face.
Here are his steps toward creating your own magic object.
1. Find an object with a face. It doesn’t have to be a toy, it could also be a statue or some other sculpture. Just make sure it has eyes you can look into. If you are religious, you can even use a religious statue of some kind. In fact, the more belief you have in it increases its usefulness.
2. Give the object a prominent spot in your workspace. Somewhere you can see it and reach out and grab it is best.
3. When you start working, acknowledge the object in some way. You can touch it, talk to it or just look at it. Just make sure that this become part of the ritual.
4. Although he didn’t do it in front of me, he also talks to his monkey. If you are stuck, ask your object for the answer. I’m not sure how it answers, we didn’t get into that.
5. Last, and most important, thank it when you’re done. Even if you don’t think your version of the monkey has done anything, thank it. According to my friend, this helps relieve the burden of starting the project again. Instead of having to remember where you were, all you have to do is go back to the monkey and pick up where you left off. This completes the cycle and lets you walk away with no weight on your shoulders.
I haven’t tried this tip yet, but my friend tells me it works wonders. In fact, he says a lot of people do it without realizing it. If you look at artist’s and designer’s workspace, you’ll always find at least one fun object with a place of prominence.
If nothing else, this will give you an excuse to go shopping for toys.