Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
November 23, 2009
Issue #353

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.  I know that my subscribers in other countries celebrate periods of thankfullness at different times of the year.  I try to be thankfull throughout the year, but sometimes forget to express it.  You are one of the things that I am especially thankful for this year. 
Thank you for being a subscriber and providing me with this forum to explore and share my ideas.  It has been a learning process for me.  I know from comments that I have received from some of you that it has also been a learning process for you.
This has turned out to be my most effective method of advertising.  I am grateful to those who have purchased some of my publications and other products.  That is what makes it financially feasible for me to spend time on my writing.
I am most grateful for the many friendships that have come about because of my clowning, teaching, and writing.  Many of you have spoken to me in person when I have been on the road to teach or sell my products.  I have met others only through the written word.  I treasure each of you.  You have truly enriched my life.
Have a great week, 
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Article by Bruce Johnson
Theatrical Term
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

November 23, 2009

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson
"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
We all have choices to make every day, in performances and in our life.  I purposely drop a ball during my juggling act.  When I did that during a birthday party last Saturday the ball rolled over towards a mother who was holding a toddler in her lap.  The woman immediately put the little girl down on the floor.  The girl picked up my ball, and the woman said, "Give it back to him."
I had to choose how to respond at that point.  I know from experience that while the girl was comfortable watching me from a distance safely seated in her mother's lap, she might become anxious if I moved towards her.  I also know that I am less intimidating if I get down to the child's height.  So, I choose to kneel on the floor to see what the girl would do.  She tottered over to me.  I held out my hand and she put the ball in it.  I wanted to respond to her in some way.  I often tip my hat to thank people, but I thought that could be a threatening gesture to somebody so young.  I wasn't sure if she would shake my hand.  So, I choose to hold my hand up for a high five and then froze.  Her mother told her to give me a high five, which she did.  Everyone laughed and applauded.  She squealed in delight, turned, and stumbled back to her mother.  Then I was able to continue with my juggling act.
Choices have consequences.  If you don't like the consequence of a choice you can decide to choose differently the next time.  My choices this time were guided by earlier choices that I have made.  I knew that I needed to let the girl approach me instead of moving towards her because one time when I made the opposite choice a child screamed and clutched their parent's leg. 
Another time a child picked up my ball and refused to give it back which prevented me from continuing my juggling routine.  Their parent pulled the ball away from them and tossed it back to me.  That child immediately started crying.  So, I made the choice to not create that situation again.  Now, I always keep an extra juggling ball in my case so that if a child holds onto a ball, I can still continue with my act.  It is a choice that I have made in advance.  That is an expression of my philosophy that the needs of the audience are more important than my needs, and that each individual in the audience is important.  So I don't want to upset an individual child if I can prevent it, but I also don't want that to stop me from entertaining everyone else.
You can decide to change the way you react to life.  I am basically shy and tend to stand off to the side at a social gathering waiting for somebody to approach me.  I have made the choice in recent years to not let that determine who I am and what I experience.  I have made the decision to look for those who are also isolated and find a way to begin a conversation with them.  Last week Carole and I attended a memorial service for Pat, a dear friend.  During the reception afterwards I noticed a woman standing by herself in a corner.  I approached her, introduced myself, and asked how she knew Pat.  It turned out that she didn't know Pat.  She was there because her husband worked at the kidney clinic where Pat had been a dialysis patient.  Her husband wanted to come to the service out of respect for Pat and Pat's husband.  This woman did not know anybody else at the memorial service so she was standing off to the side while her husband visited with Pat's family.  She talked with me until her husband was ready to leave.  My choice made it easier for both of us.  Each time that I have initiated a conversation has been easier than the previous time.  Gradually my choices are reshaping who I am.
Choices have consequences.  Are you satisfied with the results of the choices that you make?  Do you accept responsibility for your choices?  If a choice does not work the way that you want, how can you change the choices that you make in the future?  What choices can you make in advance?  What do your choices reveal about your personal philosophy?  How can you shape yourself and your life by the choices that you make?

Article By Bruce Johnson

An article I wrote titled Happy Birthday Jesus was published in the November/December issue of The Christian Conjurer, the official publication of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.  The article begins by describing a brief silk scarf routine from my Happy Birthday Jesus show.  The rest of the article gives instructions for one method I use to create customized silk scaves for my performances.  For more information on the Fellowship of Christian Magicians go to

Theatrical Term -- Back Lighting

Stage lights behind the entertainer provide back lighting.  It can be used by itself to create a dramatic effect at the beginning or end of a routine by throwing the entertainer into silhouette. 
It is especially useful in addition to other lighting during a juggling act because it lights up the entertainer's side of the props.  Without back lighting, a juggler ends up watching the shadow of the props against a dark background.

When using the natural lighting of an environment during a magic routine, be aware of existing back lighting like a window behind you.  That can cast a shadow of a gimmick revealing its presence.  You can counteract that by holding your prop in front of your body so your torso blocks the light.
Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.
Remember if you have missed an issue, you can read it by using the archive link in the right column.  If you want to change the address where you are receiving this newsletter, use the update profile link below.  If this newsletter no longer meets your needs, you can use the SafeUnsubscribe link to be permanently removed from my mailing list.  If you want to spread the word about this newsletter, you can use the forward email link below to send copies to others that you think might be interested.
I hope to see you down the road.

Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2009 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
April 29 - May 1, 2010
Branson Magic Bonanza
Branson, MO
I will be there with a dealer table.
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
I believe in promoting any event I will be lecturing at.  If you schedule me for an educational event that you are hosting, I will list it here.  My goal is to do what I can to best meet the needs of you and your group.
For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

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