habit zero #108

the challenge


Today we will dive into a new playground — one we didn’t play in till now: a book.

The Pulp Fiction Prim sends you to explore a fiction book you are reading (or one you read recently) and use the Seed as a trigger for gaining a new Insight about the story. The Insight itself can take any form and be focused on anything as long as it is part of the book: a scene, a character, a dialogue, the mood and so on.

So, grab a book you are reading and capture an Insight inspired by the Roots Seed.

my insight


The book I’m currently reading is The World According to Garp by John Irving. I saw the movie a few years after it came out when I was a teenager. To my shame I realized it was based on a book only a couple of years ago. Since then I was waiting patiently for the Kindle edition which was not available for some reason until a few months ago when the 40th anniversary edition of the book was issued.

I rarely read a book after I have seen the movie that was made based on it. But I have to admit I didn’t think it would make such a difference in this case simply because I saw the movie so long ago. But to my surprise, every few pages I pause and have a flashback from the movie. I don’t just “see” the scene I’ve just read. I also remember other scenes — others pieces of the puzzle I once saw complete.

This was a new experience for me. Usually when I read a good book, I am drawn into it. It becomes my present — I live in the story’s time zone, at least until I snap out of it because I have to get off the train. But with this book I keep going back in time to when I first saw the movie. And since this was in a different lifetime, it is quite a journey. It is like the book has roots from 30 years ago that keep pulling me back.

Back to the story itself. Despite its name, Garp is sharing the title of being the main character in the book with his mother, Jenny Fields. At least the first quarter of the book (which is how far I am in the book) is Jenny’s story, and whenever Garp is mentioned, it’s always with a statement about his mother. Throughout the story the author embeds quotations from Garp’s future book, and guess what: they are all about Jenny. Even the idea that Garp and Helen Holm will become a couple is first conceived in Jenny’s mind — before Garp is even aware of Helen’s existence.

It is as if Garp’s story is rooted in Jenny’s story. Their stories are not only inseparable — Jenny’s story feeds Garp’s and make it what it is.



What does a random Seed have to do with a good book you are reading? To understand that you have to remember how does a Seed function when you are on a creative exploration. Sure, you can capture amazing Insights with no artificial trigger. But, sometimes, a random Seed acts as a lens: it focuses you mind and tunes it to see things differently. This is a similar to the effect constraints have on problem solving: instead of operating in an infinite playground, they set clear boundaries and help your mind focus on a narrower problem (and solution) space.

In the same way, I can reflect on the book I am reading, but when I am “forced” to do that through a concrete Seed, I often gain surprising Insights more easily. The Seed is focusing my brain on a certain aspect of the book which I might miss otherwise.

mental notes


  • Seeds can help you focus and highlight specific aspects of a book or a problem you are trying to solve — aspects you might miss otherwise

now it is your turn… be creative!




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