Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #492 
July 23, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



I close my welcome article in each issue with "I'll see you down the road." That is a traditional circus phrase used when people depart. It was inspired by the fact that as circus people travel around they don't know when they will see each other again. When I attended the Circus Fans Of America convention in April I saw Bill and Chris Schreiber, a couple I worked appeared with on the Funs - A - Poppin' Circus in 1982. At the Circus Historical Society Convention in June, I saw Bill and Jeannie Reynolds who I had worked with in 1980, 1981, and 1987. The same week I saw Lolly Boas, Liz Boas, Charlie Boas Jr., Mike Straka, and Glenn Dandoy who I had worked with on Circus Kirk in 1976 and 1977. In 1976, I lived in the generator sleeper which had bunks three high. I had a center bunk, and Glenn had the bunk directly above me. I hadn't seen any of them since we toured together in circuses. However, because of all our shared experiences we had an instant rapport. One night at the CHS convention I went out one evening with Bill and Jeannie to get something to eat. Bill commented, "This feels familiar. I remember the number of times we did this when we were on the road." My circus and clown friends remain a very important part of my life even when we aren't able to see each other very often.


I will be sharing more about my circus experiences and what I learned from them next Wednesday as part of California Clown Campin'.


California Clown Campin' begins next Monday. For those who aren't able to attend for the entire week, single day registrations are available. You can get information by using the link under the Educational Opportunities column.


Also, there will be a public show performed by the California Clown Campin' staff. It will begin at 7PM on Friday August 3. It will be at the Ayres Boutique Suites in Ontario located at 204 N. Vineyard. That is at the corner of Holt and Vineyard near the OntarioAirport.


I hope to see many of my subscribers there.


 That's all for this week.


I'll see you down the road,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

July 23, 2012

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." - Thomas Jefferson


Sometimes two words are needed. For example, just to say blue is not effective communication because there are many shades of blue. It is better to say "sky blue." However, we often use too many words.


Word economy is important in writing. First, there are often size limits.   Our local newspaper has a limit of 200 words for letters to the editor. That means every word has to be meaningful.


Also, authors compete for space in magazines. Last fall I collaborated with Mista Wilt on an article about our experience at the 2011 California Clown Campin' educational program. We are both members of the Circus Fans of America Association so I submitted the article to White Tops, that organization's magazine. The editors responded that they liked the article, but they didn't have enough space for the entire article in the next issue and it was too short to run as two parts. So, I took out one section and expanded it to create a second article. The first part appeared in that issue, but they were tight on space again in the next issue so the second half was never published.


When an article is published you are competing for the reader's attention. It takes time to read an article, and people often have a limited amount of time to devote to a magazine so they seldom read every article. If the beginning of your article rambles too much, or if your article simply seems too long, the reader will turn the page to sample another article.


When I write one of my magazine articles the first draft is always too long. I don't worry about length because I am simply recording my ideas. The first step is to edit it for content by removing things that interrupt the flow or are irrelevant. Then I edit it again eliminating unnecessary words. Often I end up cutting about a quarter of the original material.


Word economy is also important in speaking. I am giving a speech based on my circus experience next week at California Clown Campin'. I have been writing it out word for word and editing it. First, there is a limit on what I can talk about. I could talk for hours about the things I experienced in the circus. However, I have an hour available on the schedule. It is important that I don't run over because after I speak, the group will board a bus to travel to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus where we will be guests of the circus clowns at a special reception before the show begins. Second, I want to make sure that what I talk about during that hour will be the most helpful to the listeners. I could just make it an entertaining talk, but I making it an inspirational motivational speech so it is worth the time participants will invest in listening to me. So, I am editing out the less important things to make sure I have time for the most valuable things.


When you speak you are competing for the listener's attention. I attended a banquet put on by a non-profit organization to explain their projects. They had too many people spending too long explaining why the group was important to them. By the time the last speaker began talking, I was tired of listening. I didn't think about his message because I was too busy thinking about how I could sneak out without attracting attention.


Often variety show introductions have too many words. The audience is interested only in what you are going to do at this moment. A long speech delays your start. You should give an emcee an introduction that you make sure you have edited down so it is meaningful. Otherwise they may ramble.


How can you eliminate unnecessary words? How can you determine which ones are important? How can you edit out the others?


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 2012 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 
Educational Opportunities

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.
California Clown Campin'

July 30 - August 5, 2012

San Bernardino, CA



Creative Gospel Routines, Silk Magic for Clowns, Circus Memories, How to Juggle - Introduction, Trick Cartoons, Physical Comedy, Juggling Jam, and Staff on Stage.


California Clown Campin Information




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