That there is a definite appeal in the merger of seeming opposites is a given. I eat a lot of popcorn, almost always of the kettle style like they sell at fairs and other outdoor events. In fact, I’m eating some as I write this. There are loads of recipes out there, but they’re all variations of the same thing: salt and sugar mixed with popcorn and a bit of oil to make them all stick. They have to stick, or it doesn’t work.
The beauty of the sweet and savory combo is well-established.
That’s the basic script for kettle corn. Simple but effective. Since I airpop the popcorn myself and eat so much of it, it has been especially easy to experiment with different types of the basic four ingredients. If feeling especially frisky, I’ve made a few additions, too–Corn Pops and other cereals, shredded coconut, candy bits, nuts, even dried fruit–for creative variety. Not too much, though. If I get carried away, it’s not kettle corn anymore.
It’s (shudder) granola. Good in its own way, but not what I wanted.
It seems that many make the same mistake that I have with kettle corn in focusing on secondary flourishes to the point that they lose their focus about what their goal was in the first place. You have to fully understand the basics first.
Then, you can improvise.
Kinda like great actors do. They learn the basics, the story and their character’s place within it, completely. They not only memorize their lines, they absorb them. Only then, they can come up with gems like these:
Everybody has their own way of getting their message across. Improvisation and creativity can make it really pop, but only if the basis for that originality is totally understood first. Successful creative types all have their own method of remembering this. Their jumping off point, so to speak.
For me, it’s my musical training. I practiced and studied classically in my youth, and became a professional trombonist quite early. As I entered my college years, I began to be offered gigs that required improvisation. I remember that when I first did it, I would write out an “improv” on staff paper, memorize it, and then play it as if I was making it up on the spot. I became comfortable by varying the standard, which I knew well.
In time, I learned how to do it correctly like real musicians do. Because I knew the basics, I was able to build on that solid ground and improvise. Take off, if you will.
Though I personally relate my non-music ventures to this early training, everybody has their own method. I have several close friends who became total academics. Some have extensive military training. Others have garnered invaluable knowledge in working with children. The means of a basis from which to launch one’s creative leanings are endless.
My point is the same.
You have to know something inside and out before you can expand on it.
Too many attempt to differentiate their ventures without an understanding of the basics before doing so: I mean, where are they coming from, and why?
I personally do a lot of web research and general internet surfing. Because I do this all of the time, I read a lot of articles. There are a large number of highly original and inspired ones, but the majority fall flat. The main reason? The writer’s knowledge seems either contrived or nonexistent. Their point–if they have one–just never flies convincingly.
There are many factors to blame. Blogging just to blog is a big one, of course. Stream of consciousness for its own sake is pretty boring; there don’t seem to be many James Joyces out there to do so with excellence these days. There are must be countless millions of these diaries posing as meaningful web logs out there.
The plethora of SEO based “writing” is another readily apparent one. Article writing factories make it worse.
Too many seem to think that the recipe for a creative work is simple:
Do a little Googling. Add a pinch of Wiki. Stir quickly with BS to taste. Serve. Get paid. Next.
Naw. We see you. The creative talent to make something original takes a lot of hard work and more than a modicum of talent.
The ones with whom we can identify and then soar, though, are very comfortable with their launching pad. Their original recipe has a foundation, and they honor the ground beneath it.
Time for more kettle corn. The real stuff. I may add a thing ot two, but only with respect to the proven basics.
Otherwise? It’s granola. Or something.