Life on the edge of parenthesis…

I’ve been off the grid here in Melbourne for the past few days. Viv and I were presenting at and participating in Andrew and Sascha Rixon’s Story Conference. Plus I did a bijou gigette at Eaon Prtichard‘s agency.

Quite apart from technical limitations on connectivity (I’m not willing to fork out crazy roaming prices and too lazy to figure out low cost avoidance measures) I’ve had a bit of break from blogging. I’m quite into playing on the fringe of the Gutenberg Parenthesis. The stuff we’ve been doing lately has been short on clever words and analysis and long on play movement and experimentation. So at Eaon’s place we mostly played and I didn’t spend much time explaining it what it all meant. And we largely did that at the conference too.

Still I thought I’d make the effort to blog out a few of the ideas that have been percolating lately:

– It’s tempting when playing improv games to keep ’em fresh by introducing new ones when you get the sense people are bored. Viv and I decided to spend time exploring what happens when you opt instead to stay in the “bored” space and keep going. It was pretty cool… the boredom soons breaks out into new interesting territory without much effort – once you choose to embrace rather than resist.

– It’s really useful to be a participant at events instead of being a facilitator. It reminds me how resistant I am to being told what to do by others sometimes. Oh, I think, is this what it’s like to be one of my gigs?

– Talking about the work, especially improv stuff, is best done is small chunks. There’s just no substitute for the play. Let the games to most of the teaching.

– I tend to trot out glib little phrases that don’t stand close analysis, but do have a whiff of truth. My latest is: “Questions are interesting; answers are boring; practice is everything”. I’m not ™-ing it.

– Playback Theatre is awesome. Melbourne Playback Theatre even more so. What a difference it made to see them play out and reflect people’s experiences of the conference. It brings out all the richness that often lies buried in the depths when we don’t acknowledge feelings and try too hard to make big meanings out of everything.

– The theme of my work with Viv this week was Edges of Work. What’s it like to stick around in the place where we’re a bit off-balance. Not safe enough to be bored, not scared enough to be unable to cope?

– Trances are interesting. We slip into them so easily at meetings, not noticing how ritualised our behaviour becomes. Finding ways to move between trances is seems a useful thing to do. Fun too.

I’m about out of words now. I’m hoping Viv finds a few things to add at some point.

3 thoughts on “Life on the edge of parenthesis…

  1. annette

    I spent a fortune on internet connectivity on my recent trip to Oz and NZ…apart from a handful of coffee shops that offered reasonably priced wifi I found the whole experience exasperating (ok, it was the only think that flummoxed me during the whole trip!)

  2. Luc Glasbeek

    Hi Johnnie,

    Re: “Questions are interesting” – I’m increasingly interested in the power of great questions, and am finding some good resources on this (e.g. Anthony Robbins, the World Cafe).

    What I’m looking for at the moment is how games can be used to help people become better at asking questions. Haven’t found anything interesting on this yet… Any thoughts from your end?


  3. Johnnie Moore

    Hi Luc: We might have to invent such a game. I’ll need to reflect on the conditions that prompt me to ask questions that turn out to be helpful.

    There is a fun improv game where you have to hold a conversation where everything is a question… it’s entertaining but probably not quite what you’re after here!


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