Welcome to Be Playful!
If it’s your first time visiting, here are some posts you might like to read:
The A-Z of Playfulness
“Your one-stop reference guide to all things playful.” Read More…
How to be an Everyday Clown
“Clowns are brilliant. They bring joy and laughter to the world. They’re larger than life, clumsy, confused, very silly, and full of nonsense.” Read more...
Catalysts of Creativity
“A catalyst of creativity is anything that inspires you to be creative.” Read More…
Sprites are playful, mischievous nature spirits with magical powers. They are one of the most creative spirits in the fairy kingdom, and can often be found writing poems or painting.
In the autumn they carry tins of brightly coloured red, orange and yellow paint, which they use to change the colour of leaves. They then shake tree branches to make the leaves fall to the ground.
Sprites have lots of excess energy, and they like to play with nymphs or tease butterflies.
Sprites are made of the element water, so they are only found in places that are serene and cool. In the springtime sunshine, sprites like to dance on moving water, making little rainbows.
During storms, sprites can cause lightening to strike or create problems with electricity.
Famous sprites include Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Tinkerbell from Peter Pan.
Their name is derived from the Latin word for spirit, spiritus. The English word sprightly, meaning lively or spirited, comes from the word sprite.
Sprites are usually friendly to human beings, and can bring unexpected good fortune.
Playful Miniguides: A semi-regular series of simple guides to the art of playful living.
Choose a Pen
Find some paper
Respect your inner creativity by choosing paper that’s special for you. You might like to set aside a notebook for doodles & drawings, or you may prefer to find random scraps of paper. Train tickets rouse feelings of journey and adventure, whilst instruction manuals conjure up your inventive self.
Make a drawing space
This can be anywhere – on the bus, in the park, in front of your TV, even in class. Doodling activates the creative side of your brain, helping you absorb ideas and see connections in what you’re learning.
Put pen to paper. It’s as simple as that. Doodle whatever comes to mind, or better still, release your unconscious and draw without thinking. Give your pen complete freedom to reflect your thoughts and your feelings.
Redefine your doodling habit by learning some new doodles. If certain doodle shapes are related to a mood you want to evoke, try learning those.
When learning a new thing, as well as taking written notes, draw doodles related to what you’re learning. When you go back over your notes, the doodle will provoke your memory.
Doodle mind maps and diagrams. These doodles include both words and pictures.
Instead of arguing over disagreements, try doodling how you see the situation. Again, include words and pictures. This helps you see the conflict in a new way, and turns it into a catalyst of creativity.
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Life is a lot like jazz: it’s best when you improvise.
~ George Gershwin
1. Bobby Hutcherson: Let go of the Control Panel
‘The whole thing of being in music is not to control it but to be swept away by it. If you’re swept away by it you can’t wait to do it again and the same magical moments always come.’
2. Don Pullen: Use What You’ve Got
‘All the music you’ve ever heard in your life is somewhere in your head. I don’t reject that, I use it.’
3. Miles Davis: Have the Patience to Become Yourself
‘Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.’
4. Carla Bley: Perfect is Boring
‘What’s interesting about a person without problems?’
5. Ed Thigpen: Share Your Gifts
‘Musicians should never forget that we’re blessed. We have a special gift that people can enjoy through us. We’ve had the good fortune to receive this and pass it along to others.’
6. Paul Whiteman: Remember the Past
‘Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains.’
7. Thelonius Monk: Freedom = Structure + Improvisation
‘Jazz is freedom. You think about that.’
8. Paul Desmond: Be Grateful for Family
‘I would also like to thank my father who discouraged me from playing the violin at an early age.’
9. Billy Taylor: Learn from Others
‘The thing that is making jazz healthy today is that people are coming out of other backgrounds – from rock, folk, from ethnic music. It’s changing the music, and for the better.’
10. Aaron Copland: Life’s Meaning is Found Through Living
‘The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking ‘Is there a meaning to music?’ My answer would be, ‘Yes’, And ‘Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?’ My answer to that would be ‘No.”
11. Art Blakey: Take Regular Showers
‘Jazz washes away the dust of every day life.’
12. Bix Beiderbecke: Celebrate the Unexpected
‘One thing I like about jazz, kid, is that I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Do you?’
13. Miles Davis: Failure is Not An Option
‘Do not fear mistakes, there are none.’
14. Louis Armstrong: Go One Step Further
‘We all do ‘do, re, mi,’ but you have got to find the other notes yourself.’
15. Charlie Haden: Give Time to your Spiritual Side
‘In the midst of creating, a person is raised to another level of consciousness that doesn’t have that much to do with everyday thinking. It’s as if you could imagine life before there were words.’
16. Oscar Peterson: Recognise your Interdependence
‘It’s the group sound that’s important, even when you’re playing a solo. You not only have to know your own instrument, you must know the others and how to back them up at all times. That’s jazz.’
17. Earl Hines: Take Pride in your Appearance
‘You may have holes in your shoes, but don’t let the people out front know it. Shine the tops.’
18. Joe Venuti: Fail With Style
‘If you’re going to make a mistake, make it loud so everybody else sounds wrong.’
19. Benny Green: Be a Clown
‘A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges.’
20. Paul Desmond: Be Beautiful, Original, and Sincere
‘The qualities in music which I considered most important — and still do — were beauty, simplicity, originality, discrimination, and sincerity.’
21. Thelonious Monk: Words aren’t Everything
‘Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.’
22. Dizzy Gillespie: Keep Learning Everyday
‘It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.’
‘He was very inquisitive; always asking random questions about random things.’
If life feels the same everyday and you’re looking for something new, it’s time to add the spice of randomness into the mix of your life.
The Randomness Philosopher
Philosopher of randomness and precocious entrepreneur Ben Casnocha explains why moments of spontaneous randomness can end up being the most creative and productive of all:
‘The randomness philosophy is based on the difficulty of predicting which projects will ultimately be most successful. Sometimes it’s the random projects that turn out to be most important. We ought to expose ourselves to randomness. We should proactively generate opportunities that might seem random…because who knows?’
Unlocking Creativity; Confronting Fear
Being deliberately random opens your life up to new possibilities and opportunities; it opens up your soul to the creative energy submerged within you. Being creative is scary, so if being random seems frightening, it’s all the more reason to try it.
The 7 Acts of Randomness
1. Use a random pen
The new feel of the pen between your fingertips, the strangeness of different coloured ink, the sweep of the nib across the page – these could all be the thing to generate the creative spark you’re looking for.
2. Sign up to a random blog
Click through an inspriring comment on your favourite blog. At the new blog, find another comment you like, and click again. Then once more. With the luck of randomness, you’ll be on a blog that you’ve never read before. Sign up for a week or two, and spend time engaging with the different ideas fed direct to your RSS reader.
3. Write on a random piece of paper
This could be your used train ticket, the receipt from your groceries, the back of that holiday postcard for Grandma you never got round to sending. Fill it to bursting point with new and exciting ideas.
4. Generate a random word
And use it to write a sentence. About fish. Even though I’m vegetarian, I sometimes crave tunafish for tea. (To clarify, you don’t have to write about fish. My random word was fish. My second random word was clarify. Enough for one day, methinks).
5. If you’re a writer, paint a picture. If you’re a painter, write a story
If you’re neither of these, set aside a weekend to try both.
6. Read a random book completely outside your field of expertise
There’s a secret here: don’t choose an utterly random book. Find a book you like the look of, but on a subject you’ve never read before. If you’re a scientist, maybe try a historical biography. Artists, look at introductions to chaos theory or quantom physics. Business people, what about a book on political anarchism? Libraries are great for this experiment because they’re entirely cost free.
7. Speak to a random stranger
I’ve done this a few times in my life, and the wonderful thing is, most people love to have a good natter with someone they’ve never met before. Trains and buses are two of the best places for random conversations. (A word of warning: don’t try this with businessmen absorbed in a laptop, BlackBerry device, or sophisticated statistical report. They are entirely unappreciative).
And Now It’s Your Turn
Please share other useful and non-useful acts of randomness in the comments.
Inspirational quotations and uplifting photographs to reawaken your inner playfulness and creativity.
‘Writing sentences is difficult whatever their subject. It is no less difficult to write sentences in a recipe than sentences in Moby-Dick. So you might as well write Moby-Dick.’ - Annie Dillard
Writing a sentence that expresses exactly what is on your soul, and does so beautifully and effortlessly, is an extremely difficult enterprise. In fact, writing any sentence that articulates precisely what you’re wanting to say is a challenge.
Sentences are the building blocks of the writer’s trade. A bricklayer building a strong and elegant structure needs a transfusion of raw talent (steady hand, level eye) and dedicated learning (how to mix cement, which bricks to use where). Writing’s no different. Talent is some of it. But mostly you need the devoted, unswerving tenacity of a terrier chasing down rabbit holes.
What are the bricks of your creative talent? Are you building a wall for security, a home to live in, or a sacred structure to nourish the life of all who enter it?
Do you use and stretch your natural talents to their outer limits? Are you ever tempted to settle for putting together recipes when you could be writing Moby-Dick?
Playful Miniguides: A semi-regular series of simple guides to the art of playful living.
How to Make Someone’s Day
Smiles are the silent words of angels. Share your smile today to brighten and inspire the soul of every person you meet.
The internet means that the world is more connected than ever, yet online communication can never replace the real connection that all people hunger for – human touch. Share this precious gift by giving a hug today
Both the world around us and the world within us can distract us from being truly present and engaging with the people we love. Set aside your worries for a moment, turn off the TV, and spend an evening being present with the special people in your life.
Remember to say thank you whenever gratitude is due.
Tell a joke, lose your inhibitions, dance around the kitchen. Laughter is infectious, good for your health, and works wonders of healing for even the most wounded of souls.
Open your soul and your being to others through the art of active listening.
Make cookies for your work colleagues, write out your favourite poem for a close friend, whistle a tune whilst you shop, sing a song as you wander down the street.
To give a true blessing, tell another person everything that is wonderful about them. Write your blessings as a note to give words that can be remembered, held in the soul, and cherished forever.