Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
June 7, 2010
Issue #374

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

Art Linkletter passed away on May 26, 2010.  He was famous for his rapport with the kids that he interviewed on his TV shows in the 1950's and 1960's.  In 1957, he wrote a book, titled Kids Say The Darndest Things!, that was compilation of things the kids had said plus his observations and opinions about childhood.  I am dedicating this issue to his memory.
The twelth issue of my Creativity For Entertainers email newsletter was sent last week.  You will read a little more about that in this issue as well.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Art Linkletter and Pinto Colvig
Articles by Bruce Johnson
Clown Camp Singapore
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

June 7, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"I believe that the 'imagery muscles' of a child's mind can be exercised and developed in the same way that his biceps are built.  He must use them frequently and to the limit before any real growth can be expected and he must 'want' to stretch them." - Art Linkletter  Kids Say The Darndest Things!


I have observed in my own life, and watching others, that everyone can become more creative by exercising mentally.  Physical training is a good analogy for mental training.


When I had to play baseball in high school P.E., I was always placed in the out field which got the fewest hits because I had trouble catching the ball.  That just reaffirmed by belief that I couldn't catch so I never really tried.  However, when I decided that I wanted to learn to juggle I was motivated to practice catching objects.  I discovered that with practice my ability improved.  As my ability improved, I gained in confidence so I attempted more.  I eventually got to the point where I was pretty good at catching juggling clubs while passing six clubs with a partner. 


A similar thing is true in creativity.  I believe that everyone can be creative, but first they need confidence that they can succeed so they will practice.  Fortunately my parents and several school teachers reaffirmed that I was creative and urged me to try new things so I exercised my creative muscles.  I know many people who were told that they weren't creative.  The lack of confidence in their creativity meant that they didn't try.  As a teacher of creativity, one of the joys of my life is seeing people make the discovery that they can be creative.  They are amazed by their initial success, and then continue to grow in their ability.  Greg Woods told me, "I didn't think I was creative.  Volume three of your creativity books convinced me that you are creative, but the first two volumes convinced me that I am creative."


There are two goals in physical training, flexibility and strength.  The same goals are important in creativity.  Studies have shown that humor, especially jokes that make you think of one definition of a word and then switch to a different definition, increases your mental flexibility.  People score higher on creativity tests after enjoying humor.  I personally believe that reading fiction, especially works rich in metaphors, increase your mental flexibility.  I have observed that people who read a lot tend to use their creative muscles in other endeavors.  That does not prove that there is a cause and effect.  However, I notice that it is easier for me to be creative after reading fiction.


Playing games, working puzzles, and solving brain teasers helps to strengthen your mental muscles.  In addition, creativity exercises have been developed over the years.  You will find many of those in the first two volumes of my creativity trilogy.  There is also one in issue 12 of my Creativity For Entertainers email newsletter.  (You can read it using the Newsletter Archive link to the right.)  You can find many other exercises by going to your public library and checking out books on creativity.  I often try a new exercise, but I have some favorites that I have returned to many times over the years.  You don't get full value from doing an exercise just once.  You have to do a specific physical exercise many times over a prolonged period to build up that particular muscle.  I find that each time I repeat a creativity exercise I can complete it faster and come up with better answers.  I have found that using an idea quota pushes me to my limit.  For example, I may decide that I want to come up with ten possible answers.  If I struggle to get that many, I stop when I succeed.  If ten is easy, I challenge myself to generate five more.


How confident are you in your ability to be creative?  Do you want to be more creative?  Select something today that will exercise your creativity.  What can you do to increase your mental flexibility?  Where can you find humor or literature rich in metaphors?  How can you strengthen your mental muscles?  Where can you find games, puzzles, or brain teasers for mental exercise?   Can you repeat a creativity exercise you have found helpful in the past?  Where can you find new creativity exercises to work on?  How can you use an idea quota to push you to your limit?

Art Linkletter and Pinto Colvig


In Kids Say the Darndest Things!, Art Linkletter tells of a time Pinto Colvig, an International Clown Hall of Fame inductee, was performing at a birthday party for one of Linkletter's children.  A young guest confided in him, "Mr. Linkletter.  You know that clown who's playing all the games with us?  He's not a real clown! I've been watching him.  And he took off those white gloves.  And Mr. Linkletter, he has skin just like the rest of us."


Linkletter concludes the story by saying, "Then I realized how seriously the little folks take the subject of organized fun.  A clown is someone born for just that occupation, red nose, big mouth, and flat feet."

Articles by Bruce Johnson

I wrote two articles which appeared in the May 2010 issue of Clowning Around, published by the World Clown Association.
 The first was a short article in the Information For New Clowns Section on being a First of May.
The second was a history of  Singing Clowns.  The clowns that I discused included Joseph Grimaldi, Dan Rice, Billy Burke, Bert Williams, Jackie Le Claire, and Randy Christensen.  In keeping with the WCA emphasis on the world of clowning I included the Chou, clowns who perform with the Peking Circus.  This article was part of my column as the WCA Historian.

Clown Camp Singapore Classes

I will be debuting a new class next month at Clown Camp in Singapore. It is titled Simple Magic with Everyday Objects.  This class will include many things you can make quickly when you have an opportunity to perform but haven't brought the props that you normally use as an entertainer.
I willl also be teaching two of my most popular classes, Silk Magic for Clowns and Creative Gospel Routines.
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 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
September 8-12, 2010
South East Clown Association Convention
Jacksonville, Florida
 Introduction to Juggling, Creativity Techniques, Trick Cartoons, Banquet Show, and Dealer Table
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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