Guns, Tanks, and Creativity

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creative Solutions to Big Problems

Creativity is not just about expressing yourself. Sometimes lives depend on it.

In 1943, as the Allies were planning D-Day, they realized that securing a beachhead would be their hardest task. They constructed an elaborate plan, dubbed Fortitude South, to deceive the Germans into thinking that the invasion would be at the Pas-de-Calais instead of at Normandy.

The Allies built an entire fake camp of inflatable rubber tanks, plywood artillery and mock landing crafts, and supported the illusion with false radio transmissions and stories to German spies of US General Patton being the commander of this non-existent force.

And so, the Germans concentrated their efforts in the Pas-de-Calais while the real invasion landed in Normandy. Thousands of lives were lost. It could have been millions, the war lasting years longer.

Sometimes creative thinking is not an option but a necessity, even a matter of life and death.

(More info on Fortitude South

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Cigarettes and Margaritas

I bump into him at the gas station counter. He’s been away for a couple of weeks, looks a little tanned.

“How was your holiday?”

“It was alright.” The muscles in his face are tensed.

He’s having a hard time deciding which cigarettes to ask for, wants to quit. Should he get the light ones, but then he’ll just smoke more, get his usual, but then he’s in a rut, start on another brand, not get any at all…

I make some joke about him not taking all day, I have a root canal appointment to get to. No smile, eyes set on the cashier.

He decides on a brand. They’re out of that kind. The muscles in his face get tighter, he squints. Quite the reaction from a guy who’s just spent two weeks on a beach. He’s always that way, and no amount of lazily sipping margaritas is going to help. I’ve seen him crack a smile a couple of times. It’s a big deal when the ice melts. Why so tense?

There’s a lot of sorrow back there- divorce, kids shuffled back and forth. He wishes it wasn’t like this, can’t believe this is his life.

If he doesn’t have this serious-tense-guy thing going, he might fall apart. And that terrifies him. He’s afraid of himself, what he would do, who he would turn into if he faced his losses head on. Maybe there would be nothing left of him.

Photo from http://flic.kr/p/gDGuo

Use the comment field to suggest a topic, submit your writing on today’s 4 Minute Writer topic (Cigarettes and Margaritas), or to comment.

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2 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Writing

2 responses to “Guns, Tanks, and Creativity

  1. I love the Fortitude South story: I get misty eyed about the whole second world war thing. I think the mind in charge of Britain during that time was one of the great creative minds of all time. Churchill was a giant, and knew how to assemble other great minds to achieve one of the most challenging goals in history.

    And we meet your tense guy so often…wonderful portrait of someone who has a siege mentality, hemmed in by life.

    Two different attitudes to adversity:-)
    Thanks.

    • I like your analysis of how the two pieces fit together and your phrase “a siege mentality, hemmed in by life.” Nice!
      By the way, hope your concussion is fading away- sounds nasty!

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