Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #403 
May 2, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

This is the tenth anniversay of my Thought For The Week.  I started it on Monday May 2, 2011.  I am including that very first article in this week's newsletter.  One of the projects that I have started on is selecting my favorite 365 Thought For The Week articles and compiling them into a Thought For The Day book.  It will still be a while before I get it completed.  I'll let you know when it is finished.  
I am grateful to all my loyal subscribers.  Thank you for reading what I have to offer.
Thank you also to all of you who have helped spread the word about my Thought For The Week.  I have recently had a surge in new subscriptions.
Welcome to everyone who is knew.  I hope that I am able to meet your expectations.
Have a great week,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Thought For The Week No. 1
Books by Bruce Johnson
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

May 2, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers."  -- Anthony Robbins


I have heard it said that a question mark "?" is a hook that helps to catch ideas.


Steve Long and I were the headliners for a regional clown festival.  We were both scheduled to perform at the awards banquet.  I suggested that it might be nice if we did a routine together.  Steve immediately agreed and suggested that we perform Stagecoach.  I was familiar with the routine which had become extremely popular after it was published in a skit book by Barry DeChant.  At the time I performed exclusively without speaking and the skit as normally performed had two speaking roles.  I initially turned down Steve's suggestion.  During the afternoon I asked myself, "Is there a way it can be done if one person is silent?" I gradually realized that the person riding shotgun didn't need to speak except for the punchline.  Then I changed my question to, "Is there a way that the punchline can be done silently?"  I eventually found an answer to that question.  I did a short charade of the punchline, which Steve interpreted for the audience.  Since we were freed of the normal script we both improvised freely during our performance and it was a great success.  That success was a direct result of me asking myself asking a question.


This newsletter resulted from a series of questions.  In 1995 I began writing and publishing The Clown In Times, a quarterly journal devoted to clown history.  I used the welcome letter in each issue to promote events where I would be lecturing.  In the spring of 2001, I decided that it was time to do something different.  My first question was, "What can I do to promote my lectures?"  My answer was to start a web site.  I attended some lectures on promoting a business using a web site.  I asked the instructors, "What is the most important thing you can do with your web site?"  The answer I received most consistently was, "Have some content that changes so people will come back to your web site.  The more times your web site is viewed the higher you will be ranked by search engines."  (That answer has since changed.  Search engines currently use additional criteria.)  I asked myself, "What can I easily change?"  My answer was a weekly motivational thought for entertainers because that would give me a schedule for making changes. I posted the first Thought of the Week on my web site on May 2, 2001.  My next question was, "How can I get the word out to others?"  Rick "Soda Pop" Struve was publishing a popular internet newsletter at the time.  I submitted that first Thought of the Week to him, which he reprinted it with information on how to find the current Thought on my web site.  Some of my readers requested that I send them the Thought For The Week as an email, so I began my subscription list.


Also in May 2001, I completed the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) Course.  Life application questions are an important part of that course.  For example, the book of James directs Christians to not just read the Bible, but to put it into action.  James lists looking after widows as one way to do that.  When we studied the book of James in BSF, we were asked, "Who do you know that is a widow?  How can you look after them?  What specific action can you take?"


After finishing the BSF course, I took a BSF graduate seminar on leading Bible Study classes.  Our instructor stressed the value of using questions as a teaching tool.  Discovering the answers themselves, guided by your questions, has much more of a lasting impact on students than if you simply gave the answers.  Also, except for questions of fact, the same answer is not valid for every student.


So after the first few Thought of the Week articles, I began ending each one with questions for you to consider. 


I began work on my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy early in 2002.  I ended each section of those books with questions to inspire you to come up with your own ideas.  (You can read more about using questions as a creativity tool in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two: Creative Tools and Techniques.)  Patty Wooten said, "After I finish reading a book, I often think about the author's ideas.  But after reading these books I found myself thinking about my own ideas."


How often do you ask questions of other people?  How often do you ask yourself questions?  What results do you get?  What questions do you need to ask again to see if the answers are still valid?  How can you learn to ask better questions?




Thought For The Week No. 1


Thought For The Week (May 2, 2001)

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."  -- Albert Einstein


When I was a student at the Wait, Wait, Wait School of Juggling, Randy Pryor told us, "if you aren't dropping you aren't making progress."  He meant if we could do everything perfectly, we were doing our old tricks that had become easy.  To progress, we had to attempt new things.


I often rely heavily on props.  When I was selected to be the Grand Marshall of the 1992 Clownfest Parade in Seaside Heights, I purposely left my props in my hotel room.  I wanted to try entertaining people without them.  Not everything that I tried was successful, but I learned a lot by doing it.


Give yourself permission to make mistakes.  Attempt something new this week.  Add something to a performance that you have never done before.  In practice, experiment with something new.  If you are a juggler, try a new trick.  If you are a magician, try a new sleight or a new way of using one you already know.  If you always talk, try creating a silent routine with a musical background.


Copyright 2001 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.  All rights reserved.



Books by Bruce Johnson

In the main article this week, I refered to some of my publications.
The Clown In Times was a quarterly journal devoted to clown history.  Each issue was about 24 pages long.  The pages were numbered consecutively from the first issue.  That means if issue one ended with page 24, issue two began with page 25.  In addition to the 24 pages of articles, the last issue included an index to all four issues in the volume.  The Clown In Times is currently available in bound editions.  All four issues from each year are bound together as one soft cover book.
I know that many of my subscribers are involved in Caring Clowning.  My Charlie's Trick Cartoons set of lecture notes is particularly useful for you.  Trick Cartoons are easy to perform, latex free, infection control compliant, and provide an inexpensive give away.
The first two volumes of Creativity for Entertainers, Creativity For Entertainers Volume One: The Creative Process and Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two: Creative Tools and Techniques, deal with the theory of creativity.  They will guide you to being more creative.  Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three: Creative Routines is the application of the theory.  In this book I describe routines that I have created and explain how I used the creative process.  The routines, including many Gospel Ministry ideas, either use props you probably already own or props that you can make yourself.  Questions after each routine lead you to exploring your own unique variations.  It has been said that "if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to catch fish you feed him for his lifetime."  To that I would add, "if you don't give him a fish he may starve to death before he catches one."  The first two volumes teach you how to create routines, while the third volume gives you a locker full of fish.  Each volume is self contained so you can read them in any order.  Many people start with volume three, and then read the first two.  Others read them in order.
Greg Wood said, "Volume Three convinced me that Bruce is creative.  The other two convinced me that I am creative."
You may use this link to find about these and other books that I have written.
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 2011 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 
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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.

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