Creativity: I resolve not to resolve

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The Independent Culture
FOLLOWING last week's request for possible uses for the seven pins and odd bits of cardboard, plastic and clips that make new shirts so difficult to unpack, Bernard Coleman writes with an urgent warning: 'Forget the bits and pieces. Look for the eighth pin immediately or prepare to be skewered on the right wrist or left ear.'

We are still unpacking the rest of our shirt-related mail, on which we shall report next week. This time we deal with New Year resolutions.

Ms and Mr Stephanpaul of Southampton say that their main resolution will be to remember this time next year what their New Year's resolutions were so that they can do better next time, while Stuart Cockerill of Leeds has resolved that if he ever lets his wife get drunk again, he will hide the cat.

His other resolutions include: 'I will stop leaving messages in Norwegian on other people's answerphones. I will post the Christmas cards on time. I may possibly not stop attempting to be unambiguous. My second wife will not have friends all over the country, all of whom require regular telecommunication.'

His wife, however, has resolved to remember where she put the Christmas presents that she buys in the January sales, so he would be advised not to ditch her before next Christmas at the earliest.

Beyond the call of normal creativity, Mr Cockerill extended the scope of his reply to include resolutions that ought to have been made by historical figures, such as 'I will keep my ideas to myself' (Alexander Graham Bell) and 'Next time I go East' (Christopher Columbus).

His advice on what to do with New Year resolutions is 'leave them in one's will to despicable relatives' or 'give them up for Lent'.

The Stephanpauls have also resolved not to lose the car keys, not to get annoyed when they lose the car keys, not to go to work on any day when it's raining and not to forget the one thing one always does forget when setting out on a journey.

Linda Browning has resolved not to miss the Creativity Christmas party again. So she can't have been the one in the day-glo tutu and hyena mask either.

Heather Gregg offers the sanest advice: 'Don't make resolutions, have 'New Year Thoughts', which are not so binding. Write them down and keep them hidden until a day when you're feeling down. Then look at them and laugh yourself silly.'

We should also mention one late suggestion concerning possible uses for Christmas cards. Communicating with us by fax, apologising for the lateness and beginning his message with the words 'Fax early for Christmas', Mr A Strauss recommends throwing away all your Christmas cards except the one that looks most expensive, save it until the next year and fax it to everyone. Since all your worthwhile friends will surely own fax machines by then - if they do do not have one already - this will result in considerable savings.

It will also make it that much more difficult for Mr Cockerill to redirect your Christmas greetings to a little old lady in Germany.

Finally, on the subject of late communications, we have just been informed of an addition to the list of creative things to do with the number 42: it is the number of days in the gestation period of a ferret. We thought you'd like to know.

Following the Government's lead, we are this week embracing a 'Back to Basics' philosophy with one of the most elemental of all creativity challenges: a plastic bottle. Creative uses for this - specifically, an empty one-litre fizzy-drink bottle, with cap - will be welcome at Creativity, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.