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The Adjacent Possible: The Science Of Creativity, The Art Of The Possible


Our new book, The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation, is finally here! It’s available on Amazon, both in eBook and print format. It’s hefty, 444 pages, and loaded with fabulous art!

And it almost didn’t happen.

And this is for reasons having to do, in part, with mathematics and physics. 

As regular readers of this blog know, we frequently draw connections between concepts from science and mathematics with how they relate to coming to grips with artistic challenges.



We love the concept of combinatorics—in fact, we’re obsessed with it.

It is relatively easy to generate an enormous universe of possibilities with a small number of initial elements combined in different ways.

Sounds a lot like art, doesn’t it?

And we haven’t even gotten into Zero To One…Who knew that math and art was so connected?


Infinite Possibility & Constraint


The space of possibilities in a creative enterprise is expanded through combinatorics, but managed by constraint so as not to be overwhelming.

We had our own experience with this tension between infinite possibility and constraint while creating The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook and Stories of Artistic Creativity.

We saw the mean side of combinatorics. All because we wanted to tell a story and involve our artistic friends.


The Power Of Story


We are big fans of story. Story makes sense of things and strings concepts together. The rhythm and rhyme in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are what allowed the story to survive orally for centuries before Homer wrote it down. And how modern to have only one name.

So we decided to illustrate with stories the concepts espoused in our previous book, The Adjacent Possible: Evolve Your Art From Blank Canvas to Prolific Artist 

We thought, It’ll be easy, it’ll be fun, we’ll talk to a bunch of artists and write down what they say and Voilà–a book!  

Didn’t turn out that way.

It turns out that corralling artists is like herding cats. It’s best done with a fish, but a book sort of works.  

The biggest challenge was just staying organized.

There were bios, stories, and images of all sizes. On top of that, we had to decide what concepts were being illustrated by which stories. 

And all the while the book grew like corn in July. Chapters went from 25 to 57 in number, words from 25,000 to almost 60,000, and an imageless book gathered over 200 images of art. We had no idea there would be images when we started!

And all this after rigorous editing.




This brings up a concept from mathematical physics, that of entropy.

Entropy is a measure of disorder.

If entropy is low, things are organized, if it is high, things are more random and disordered.





Entropy is an “iceberg concept,” meaning there is a lot under the surface that must be brought to light to make sense of it.

Entropy is associated with organization, which is associated with structure, which is associated with information, which is associated with context, which is associated with meaning, which is associated with purpose.

Only a few more steps to Life, the Universe, and Everything, with apologies to Douglas Adams.


It will take more than one blog post to untangle entropy.

Suffice it to say that it was an exercise in entropy untanglement to produce our book, and entropy almost won. Nancy’s computer’s file system still bears the scars of this heroic battle. It was the digital equivalent of Hercules’ Augean stables.



Cluttered computer desktop (Not Nancy’s)



With gratitude from our studio to yours,

Nancy & Bruce


P.S. Our newest book: The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation is here!

Nab the eBook HERE

Get the print book HERE. 













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