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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Disney's Zen and Rowling's Writing

The soothing sounds of water, the comforting sounds of the city, the relaxing sounds of nature, and more.

All set to glorious animation from some of your favourite Disney films.

This week, Disney+ introduced ZENIMATION, a series of short, curated animations that invite you to, "Refresh your senses with a moment of mindfulness." It's available to all Disney+ subscribers right now.

I'm not one who practices mindfulness -- although perhaps I should be -- but "Disney Presents: Meditation" is something I just had to try.

And it didn't take long before I was transfixed with the "Water" episode I watched; the five-minute episode flew by.

The Disney+ service has already been a lifesaver for parents who suddenly have a LOT more time alone with their kids during the day, but this new series is a fun way to give us frantic adults a moment of tranquillity during these "interesting" times.

The message that appeared on the screen at the end of each episode, right before the credits, was also a nice touch:

ZENIMATION is a tribute to the visual and sound artists who have created Walt Disney animation Studios' legacy of films.

That's a nice way for Disney to celebrate both its storied past and the people who have made the magic happen.

And speaking of magic...

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also launched something new this week: The Ikabog.

The Ikabog is the latest novel by Rowling, but it isn't new. As she explains on the Ickabog website:

I had the idea for The Ickabog a long time ago and read it to my two younger children chapter by chapter each night while I was working on it. However, when the time came to publish it, I decided to put out a book for adults instead, which is how The Ickabog ended up in the attic. I became busy with other things, and even though I loved the story, over the years I came to think of it as something that was just for my own children.

Then this lockdown happened. It’s been very hard on children, in particular, so I brought The Ickabog down from the attic, read it for the first time in years, rewrote bits of it and then read it to my children again. They told me to put back in some bits they’d liked when they were little, and here we are!

And here's the really great part: The Ickabog will be published for free on this website, in instalments (sic), over the next seven weeks, a chapter (or two, or three), at a time. So what we have is a new book for children, available for free. She cautions that, "It isn’t Harry Potter and it doesn’t include magic. This is an entirely different story." But I'm willing to bet it'll be an interesting read nonetheless. And to further engage her young readers, she's offering them a chance to be featured -- via their artwork -- in the book once it's printed and available for sale:

The most exciting part, for me, at least, is that I’d like you to illustrate The Ickabog for me. Every day, I’ll be making suggestions for what you might like to draw. You can enter the official competition being run by my publishers, for the chance to have your artwork included in a printed version of the book due out later this year. I’ll be giving suggestions as to what to draw as we go along, but you should let your imagination run wild.

How are these two ideas related?

Disney+ took something they already had available -- the wonderful images and sounds from their beloved children's films -- and repackaged it in a way that met a different (but equally important) need: a few moments of peace and tranquillity for adults. Then they made it available, at no extra cost, to all Disney+ subscribers.

J.K. Rowling took something she had already written, recognized it could have a renewed relevance (as children are quarantined away in their homes looking for entertainment and needing to keep up with their education), and made it available to an eager audience... for free.

If there's a way for your business to offer your customers something of value -- particularly if it's easy or inexpensive for you to give away -- now's an exceptional time to do it.

- dp


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