Beauty Of The Now

Over the last couple of years, with this dear friend, I’ve had the joy of hearing artists at the prime of their craft. These concerts always carry the whispers in the air that “maybe, it’s the final round before retirement,” but these soon disappear when they play the first chord. A craftsperson has a way of doing that. There’s no reliance upon fancy gimmicks and elaborate stage shows - just their presence, subtle lighting and a band of fellow crafters. 

But this concert added a new element. The old master told his tale. A tale about his journey of learning his craft and the not-so-glamorous path of following any dream. He showed appreciation for what was before. The sofa-surfing, hitchhiking and endless moments of walking with a bag and guitar case. And thankfulness of where that journey has now taken him. Maybe that’s why he performed a little surprise magic after the show should've ended. 

For someone who is today lugging an IKEA bag full of books around London (complete with strange looks), it's a helpful reminder to savour these moments. Not that I'm expecting to do a talk in the O2, but sometimes it's easy to look ahead and not notice the beauty of the ‘now’.

Andy Smithyman
Embrace The World Of Your Inner Child

"As children, we are driven by our inner desires to learn, to discover and to help others. But as we grow, we are programmed by our society to need extrinsic motivations: if we take out the trash, study hard and work tirelessly, we will be rewarded with friendly praise, high grades and good paychecks. Slowly, we lose more and more of our intrinsic motivation (finds the very action fulfilling, no further reward is necessary). On the path towards adulthood, our natural dedication decreases with age."

"Children often demonstrate great dedication in striving towards small goals: they romp about with great curiosity and sample everything possible in an attempt to understand the world. It is with great pleasure that they employ their hands, mouth, eyes and ears to learn about anything, whether observing butterflies or learning to stack cans. They are intrinsically motivated to a high degree. Over the years, however, they change: their urge to search for challenges and novelties lessens. Little by little, they cease to further their skills themselves. So what happens to their motivation? Intrinsic motivation is gradually lost as a person is confronted with a world in which everything relies on extrinsic motivation"

Two abbreviated quotes from Daniel Pink’s book, Drive.

Andy Smithyman
Stories Linger

The beauty of the stories we tell… they carry the hints of voices beyond our own. And maybe, just maybe, the story we craft might linger beyond our own retelling.

Harry Potter's Forgotten Predecessor: 25 years ago, Neil Gaiman introduced another bespectacled teen boy with a magical destiny.

An unassuming English kid with glasses obtains a pet owl, and takes up his preordained destiny to enter a secret world of magic hidden in plain sight—brought to you by one of the world's most successful fantasy authors. That thumbnail summary of course describes Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling's hit series first published in 1997, which is still a massive pop-culture phenomenon today. But the description also fits The Books of Magic, a DC Comics miniseries published 25 years ago this month by Neil Gaiman. Though largely forgotten, the series foretold much of pop-culture's current (and seemingly insatiable) appetite for the superhero and fantasy genres.

Andy Smithyman
Collaborative Creativity.

‘Creativity is a collaboration between artist and audience.’

A thought-provoking statement.

It teaches me not to become that ‘creative peacock’, strutting around as though what I have formed is a wonder to behold.

Anything created has within its creation the marks of the past, present and future; because what I see is not formed from just my eyes.

Paradox is a book with page 413 stating ‘the end.’

And yet, as this Paradox Sketches Tour continues, I am learning to appreciate the extra words forming beyond the cover.

But even then, it’s very easy to think of creation as a physical product. This journey is teaching me that this story is more than a book. And I’m not the one writing it.

Yes, creativity is a collaboration between artist and audience. But creativity also lets us into an ancient wisdom - it's often hard to distinguish between artist and audience. And rightly so.

Golden Rule in Storytelling

Golden rule in storytelling for organisations and communities? Possibly. I like to believe the hero's journey isn’t formulaic, but there are rules (aka Joseph Campbell & Aristotle) … laws to the game. One of them being that the identity of the ‘real hero’ may surprise you.

Andy Smithyman
Five reasons why I love this 7-minute video about a Wasabi farmer.
  • Reason One: a thought process about generations, not just the immediate.
  • Reason Two: the beauty of patience in a world that often demands speed.
  • Reason Three: the richness that comes from the pursuit of a craft.
  • Reason Four: a desire to find out more. For example, I didn’t know that 99% of the wasabi consumed in the world is not actually wasabi — it’s horseradish + green food colouring. Real wasabi is difficult to grow.
  • Reason Five: authenticity.
Andy Smithyman
Ipswich Calling


I’m doing the final prep’ for the next Paradox Sketches event. Ipswich is calling tonight.

Sketches is in its third month, and I'm still learning the ropes. Each event is different. On purpose. Trying new ‘lines.’ Adjusting each section; seeing what works or needs a little more attention.

But one thing has not altered.

This tour has been one of the most affirming spaces I’ve occupied. Not because of sales or reviews, but the awareness that this Dickensian narrative really does connect to the present.

For those who haven’t heard my ‘dulcet tones?’ Or dared venture into my ‘imagination on the page.’ My Paradox book (and tour) is suggesting that the Dickensian landscape of poverty and social injustice is still around today... just with a different language. At face value, you could think it’s a fully negative statement. But Dickens had a twist with his observations. His deliberate ‘pounding of the streets’ (where he placed himself in situations that forced him to observe what was happening around) turned his gaze to another side of that injustice.

The response.

And reimagination.

I’m not going to give away any more of that twist... I still want to sell the book and do the tour!


ps: if you want to host one of these events just let me know. Email me or connect through my website.

The Swirl Film Premiere Date


The date and location is set: May 18th in Brighton & Hove for the Swirl Day and Film Premiere.

There will be maker workshops from videographers and photographers on the beach and in the hills during the day, a veggie bowl dinner and the main event - the Swirl Film Premiere. 

Tickets for the premiere is now live - £10 for evening premiere or £20 for whole day including lunch and dinner!

In a totally, unapologetic biased opinion, George Holliday has done an awesome job on the film (search him out on Insta and YTube). Tom Copson gets to serenade you and Dave Erasmus is not looking too bad in the film as well. For added bonus, you occasionally get hear the dulcet tones of yours truly rambling on about ‘who knows what?’