It was over a year ago that I moved into my house, and yet it's only now that I'm getting around to building a shed. Before piecing it together, I decided to treat and paint every part individually, and this required a trip to B&Q (other DIY retailers do exist). I had already scouted out a few colour variations, but had to run them passed the significant other before committing.
We arrive at retail park, and no further than one step outside of the car do we notice the smell. The air is filled with the delicious scent of a burger van, pitched next to the doors of B&Q. The tantalising fragrance of beef burgers and onions masking the odour of the rolls of grass and hanging baskets of flowers on display outside the store. My girlfriend proceeds with her usual comment, that she loves the smell, but hates the eating onions because of the texture. A sudden memory comes to me, and I start talking about some old story I'd heard from when I was in primary school. Unfortunately the memory was vague and a bit light on the details, but the general gist was as follows.
One day, as a tramp is eating a loaf of bread, he happens to pass by a van selling burgers. Noticing instantly that the smell helps transform the bread, he stops and sits down next to the van to continue his meal. As the burgers and onions cook, the tramp savours every mouthful of his improved bread. Upon noticing the tramp, the owner of the van becomes angered and demands payment for the smell he's stolen.
Then something happens, and the tramp doesn't end up paying but there's definitely a moral to it. I drift off into a world of my own, desperately trying to claw at any details that I could get at, but the hazy memory of six year old me couldn't produce anything. It definitely had something to do with smell, sound and the tramp gets away with it.
By the time I finish rattling on about this story, we have reached the paint aisle. I apologise to my girlfriend for having no reason for bringing up the tale, and for not being able to remember the ending. We pick out the colours we like, and head home.
Earlier that day, I'd received a package I had been looking forward to for some time. A project I had backed on Kickstarter at the end of January 2011 had finally arrived — "The Shape of Design", by Frank Chimero.
It was worth the wait; I tore through the pages. For someone who doesn't call himself much of a "reader", there was something almost magical about this book as I was incapable of putting it down. Its contents capture the How and Why of the creative process without the more common "How-to" tutorial. The storytelling throughout this book is inspiring, philosphical and analytical at the same time.
In the final chapter of the book, Chimero writes about an old Japanese tale of a poor student. Suddenly I couldn't believe what I was reading; my hazy recollections from primary school brought back and fleshed out. The book had connected with me on a level I didn't think possible, far beyond insights about what I do for a living.
If you consider yourself a "creative" — heck, even if you don't — I strongly encourage you to check out this book and experience it for yourself. It has been made available to read online, but you should definitely go buy yourself a copy if possible.