Tag Archives: Humour

Adventures of Lego Writer Man

Last year a friend of mine, amongst other people I know, maintained a Thankfulness theme on Facebook. Every day for an entire year, 365 days’ worth, he posted a new thing to be thankful for. It was an encouraging read and made my realise how blessed I am when I consider the breadth and depth of things I can be thankful for.

However, it spurred a new idea: the daily adventures of a Lego figurine, in particular, a Lego figure who was a writer.

So, Adventures of Lego Writer Man was created. Armed with his cup (for tea) and laptop (to write on), he embarks on a literary journey. Each day I post a photo on Twitter of Lego Writer Man and his adventures. Follow me (@revhappiness) or the hashtag #AofLWM.

image

Advertisements

Jessica’s Dictionary

Opportunities for creativity come in many disguises.

A little while ago, a writing friend, Jessica Bell, began posting these quirky, idiosyncratic new definitions of familiar words on twitter and Facebook.

For example,

Politics: An involuntary twitch of the top lip only seen on corrupt members of government.

I chimed in with some of my own:

Pantomime – the dance performed when putting on underwear in a public change room.

The exchange went back and forth over a few days until a surprise message arrived in my Inbox.

The gist of it was this: Would you like to write a dictionary with me?

Me: *brief pause* Oh yeah!

And so, Jessica’s Dictionary was conceived. It appeals to our warped sense of humour and our love of playing with words and meaning.

Each day or so we post a new word to twitter with the hash tag #Jessicasdictionary.

One night we had an hysterical conversation making up new definitions with a Greek flavour (Jessica is an Australian living in Greece) with words beginning with “Con-”

Conduct – a Greek who avoided hitting his head.

Conclude – the Greek who finishes first in an exam.

It will be a little while before we have enough words for our dictionary, but you can follow the hashtag on twitter #Jessicasdictionary (via @revhappiness or @MsBessieBell) for the shenanigans.

And I heartily recommend following @MsBessieBell and checking out her awesome blog and brilliant books.

Stay tuned in the near future for the release of Jessica’s Dictionary.

Have You Read A Very Short Story Today? Part 4

A smorgasbord of twitfic from the past couple of days, and a bonus poem. The content ranges from absurdist romance, existential contemplation and a nod to childhood games and Indiana Jones.

On Friday I will post a bonus themed set of twitfic based on the idea of light.

Today’s Menu

I.

He pegged his clothes in semaphore, glancing over the fence to see if the neighbour responded. The following day her own code answered.

II.

He patted the black dog sprawled like a blanket over his feet making it hard to get up. “I think it’s time to go, Old Yella,” he said.

III.

The handwritten note taped to his bedroom door read, “Teh floor iz lava.” “This will make getting to bed a bit tricky,” he said.

IV.

The thin shaft of light from the curtains divided the lounge room in half. He prepared to cross, wondering if there were poison arrows.

V.

“It’s a matter of perspective. Are you coming or going?” he asked.

“From there to here or here to there?”

“Wherever your feet lead.”

VI.

Their connection sparked as they reached for toilet paper. But he knew it wouldn’t work; she reached for 2-ply while he grasped 3-ply.

VII.

Koi circled over, under; a universe expanding, contracting as their tails flowed like comets and mouths as black holes consumed food.

And today’s bonus poem.

While I sit on my bike
At the level crossing
The bells sound ding-da-ding
Red and white arms crossed
Then open and beckon
A thousand paths

Post It Note Poetry February 5

February 5 – Virtual Reality

Post It Note Poetry Feb 5

Unwrapping the doughnut

from its paper bag

and savouring its aroma

he draws it towards his mouth…

A blank screen

and green cursor blinking

GAME OVER

Please insert $2 coin to continue

National Geographic

My first exposure to, and subsequent interest in, breasts was at the impressionable age of nine, fastened to the vinyl waiting room chairs of the local doctor. A kindly old chap with more hair protruding from his ears than sprouting from his head. I was there because swallowing felt like drinking a cup of marbles, broken Weet-Bix and Sao biscuits topped with a covering of sand.

In a measure to keep the idle from making mischief, and in the hope of expanding my educational perspective, my mother handed me a dog-eared copy of National Geographic dated around the time of my birth. Boredom is the birthplace of genius yet the prospect of a bored nine year old frightens adults. To appease my mother’s insecurities more than anything else I flicked through the pages enraptured by sumptuous photography of urban landscapes, scientific phenomena and pastoral idylls.

Within the pages a tribe of African women stood with their hair matted by ochre the colour of dried blood. I was fascinated by this first glimpse of human nudity, unsullied by sexuality. The glossy brown of their naked chests was bedecked in beads of bold reds, summery yellow and horizon blue cresting above the rising and falling curvature of their breasts. I saw in their mammary tissue the topography of life: full, taut and shapely to wrinkled and deflated like a week old balloon, sagging without shape or form.

My attention was transfixed on the shape and form but lest I be caught staring intently at something that my brain believed was wrong but my groin said was right, I flipped the page, keeping a finger lodged between the appropriate sections.

Called into the doctor’s office, my attention wavered, concocting a plan to liberate the copy of National Geographic from the waiting room and into my possession. Inside the doctor’s office I opened my mouth and recited the mantra, answered the official petitions and let my mother accept the diagnosis of tonsillitis.

Returning to the waiting room I approached the receptionist’s desk, a bold request forming on my lips. “May I please have the copy of National Geographic for a school assignment?”

The receptionist nodded and I scurried to claim my prize and followed in the wake of my mother to visit the chemist for medicine. Seconded to bed rest for a couple of school days I took the opportunity to develop an understanding of my initial discovery with the benefit of the encyclopedia and a dictionary.

Perusing the article again I was drawn to the mathematical artistry and beauty of their curvature and form in space, the tone colouring of the areola and the cylindrical form of the nipple.

Upon my return to school the copy of National Geographic came with me. I thought nothing of it in terms of it containing pictures of naked breasts. At recess I was thumbing through the pages, rereading an article on spelunking. The breeze rustled the pages and opened them to the focal point of the magazine.

“Check out the tits,” said Jude Templeton over my shoulder.

I was initially non-plussed, unfamiliar with the vulgar colloquial vernacular. My ignorance made knowledge by Jude stabbing his finger at the page before flicking the pages back and forth. A small crowd flocked around, aghast and intrigued by the display of the naked female form.

I was lord of the Lunchbox, King of the Canteen. For twenty-four glorious hours I had stature and kudos but its presence was ephemeral. Until Jude Templeton smuggled his older brother’s copy of Playboy to school. A few too many leering eyes caused a commotion, whereby our teacher upon discovery, promptly confiscated it as Jude attempted to stow it under his desk.

Aiming to deflect his guilt Jude pointed in my direction, “He has one, too, Miss.”

She raised her eyebrows, folded her arms and I gambled. Withdrawing the magazine from under my desk, I held up my National Geographic. She turned and faced Jude.

“That is not a Playboy,” she said, holding her hand towards Jude for his magazine.

“But…” He was cut off by a snap of her fingers. The magazine was handed over, a guilty baton. Miss hurriedly rolled the magazine and stuffed it into her desk drawer. “I will be speaking with your parents,” she said to Jude.

I imagined the male staff sitting around the lunch table, cups of tea and coffee in hand, turning the pages, tut-tutting at the indiscretion of youth while having a good gander.

At lunch Jude tried to convince me to show him the pages again but I refused. However, I convinced him “areolas” was the name of a Spanish goalkeeper.

In the following years of developing adolescence when my friends mined the seam of hormones laid down by puberty they moved on from the simplicity of nudity to secret collections and surreptitious glances. The embarrassed indignity of being caught with masturbatory material did nothing to quell their enthusiasm. Conversations used thirty-two synonyms for genitals, male and female, with salacious intent. They snorted at vintage adult magazines, at the variation of shape and form against the homogenous shapes they ogled in contemporary glossy pages.

If I wanted nudes, I didn’t go to the magazines my friends pored over, nor to the sewerage pipeline of the internet in this modern age. I went to art galleries and studied the Reubenesque women of art books, the voluptuousness of the Renaissance, modern abstracts, Titian, Whitely, Picasso, the sculptures of the ancient world and of Rodin’s sensuality.

I pursued another learning and became a collector of National Geographic, browsing second hand bookstores, scrounging copies from relatives on the pretext of research for school assignments, random doctors’ surgeries, looking for issues from a bygone era of a different censorship. My interest in breasts was cultural, sociological, anthropological, medical, scientific, artistic, more so than simply sexual.

Even now I have an extensive collection. If you’ll excuse me, I think I hear the postman, and with him I hope, the next edition of National Geographic.

When’s The Last Time You Were Bored?

When was the last time you were bored?

Really bored?

I mean really really bored?

So bored that you even thought about watching cricket? A full 5 day Test Match?

So bored that sorting through paint swatches while watching episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians seems like a debauched party Caligula would be proud of?

I came across this tweet from Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist – @austinkleon): “How art works: when depressed, you draw Batman depressed. You’re still depressed, but now you have a picture of Batman.”

So, in true artistic fashion, I will steal Austin’s quote and change it slightly: “When you’re bored, you draw Batman bored. You’re still bored, but now you have a picture of Batman.”

And then appropriate it for writers: “When you’re bored, you write a paragraph about Batman cataloguing his capes and utility belts, and colour coding his socks and underwear. You’re still bored but now you have the beginning of a piece of satirical fan fiction.

The hyperconnectivity of our digital age means we never have to be bored. Connection to people or things of interest are available to us at our fingertips. We are tempted at every opportunity to fill the silent spaces of our days with something: television, radio, the internet, mobile devices.

We are bombarded with the white noise of static and information at every moment. Within the cacophony of noise, there is great value in the conversations we have with people, the information we glean about the world around us.

Yet when we are doing nothing we feel guilty about our inactivity.

We don’t allow ourselves to become bored.

For some, boredom comes in watching cricket or tennis or football or *insert your own sporting dislike* or bonnet dramas, reading vampire novels, watching the Year 2 recorder group butcher a piece of music (the recorder in the hands of a child is a tool of Satan, says my sister).

But, boredom does something.

Boredom creates stillness.

Boredom creates silence.

Boredom creates opportunities.

It allows the subconscious to pause and catch a breath.

It allows the subconscious to percolate, meditate, compost new ideas or provide new solutions to old problems.

As a teacher I see in my students an inability to be creative because they have not grown up in an environment where they have been allowed to be bored. Children are continually entertained, visually and aurally stimulated, given activities to do at the first whine emitting from their mouth, “I’m bored.”

Let your child do nothing.

When they say “I’m bored” it’s an opportunity for them to be creative and solve their own problems. Or if you have to give them something to do, limit the options. Give them a handful of textas and tell them they can only use the red, orange and purple ones.

Depth in creativity, and the depth and development of ideas comes because you’ve had time to let an idea sit and develop.

How do you let an idea sit and develop? Have you thought of a place where you can be bored?

Think of all the domestic chores you have: the washing up, the vacuuming, hanging out the washing, folding or ironing, washing the car or mowing the lawn. These are great places to be bored.

How about during your exercise workout at the gym as you run in the same spot, trampling a rotating piece of plastic under your feet, but never achieving distance. A great place to be bored.

I use the washing up as my Boredom Place. A good friend of mine, Jodi, calls it “sudspiration.” In the mundane, repetitive activity of washing the dishes, my brain is allowed space to think. I find it’s a great way to allow ideas come to the surface. It’s just a pain to stop mid way, dry your hands, find a pen and scribble down notes. I really must get a dictaphone or Dragonspeak.

Let yourself become bored.

Boredom is the new meditative mantra for creative people.

Artists, if you’re bored, doodle something.

Musicians, if you’re bored, practice scales or arpeggios.

Writers, if you’re bored, write nonsensical sentences.

Or better still: Do Nothing.

Absolutely Nothing.

Go and be bored.

Lessons in Creativity from Ferris Bueller

One of my all time favourite films is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” It’s cheeky, irreverent, sassy, the epitome of cool, and let’s face it, I want to be Ferris Bueller.

But what can this film teach us about creativity? From the words of Ferris come these words of wisdom.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Don’t miss opportunities to be creative. It is too easy to let life control you. Creativity allows you to control your life. It brings a new focus to your daily activities. It requires you to look around and be an active observer of the world. 

Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.

Creativity cannot be forced. Relax. Initial attempts may be failures or you’re too tense to let it flow. Perhaps you’ve had a period of time when ideas feel like you’ve pulled them out of your belly button or other deeper, darker orifices. When practised regularly, creativity becomes a natural extension of your life.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd, we’d like to play a little tune for you. It’s one of my personal favorites and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today – Cameron Frye, this one’s for you.

Nothing – wha – what do you mean nothing good? We’ve seen everything good. We’ve seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!

Creativity is best when you open yourself to new experiences and opportunities. Tell a story using an artist’s painting or photograph. Watch a dancer and write a poem or stream of consciousness based on their movement. Visit an art gallery, the zoo, watch children play, go for a walk, sit in the food court of the shopping centre and watch people, eat something different (which potentially proves my point that all food is based on a dare). Collaborate. Make sure you see something good today.

The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”

Sometimes it is good to break the rules. Use the negative space to prove 1+1= a dancing elephant fairy.

The place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.

Museums are for cultural history, an encyclopaedia of learning. Creativity is about creating community. Creativity can be about creating works of art for posterity’s sake, but it is more about giving life to your creative work, from a handmade card to a quilt passed on to the next generation. Creativity is to be lived and engaged with, admired and questioned.

Grace: Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.

Know your audience and cultivate your brand. But do not limit yourself to who you think is your ideal audience. Be authentic to your audience.

They bought it. One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second.

It’s always about your audience. It’s not about how much time and effort you put into something, the audience doesn’t need to know that. The audience doesn’t need to know if you think it has the artistic merit of congealed monkey vomit smeared on glass. It’s about how your audience engages with your creativity.

Cameron: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.

Know your focus and your passion. Give your creative endeavour life.

Cameron: Ferris, my father loves this car more than life itself.
Ferris: A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn’t deserve such a fine automobile.

That being said, don’t be a pillock. Being creative and artistic requires sacrifice, but not at the expense of your health, family, marriage or relationships. Creativity serves to enhance your life, not consume it.

Cameron: [Whispering to himself after hanging up from a phone call with Ferris] I’m dying.
[Phone rings, and Cameron answers]

Ferris: (over the phone) You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything good to do.

Life without creativity is being bored to death. Creativity doesn’t mean writing a novel or painting a masterpiece. It can be a simple act of writing a story for your family Christmas letter, cooking a new recipe, planting new bulbs and seedlings, learning an instrument, taking candid photos while you’re out for a walk, writing a quick play for your kids to perform.

You CAN be creative.

Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.