It’s late October, 2011. I’m sitting on the filthy floor of my father’s council flat. It’s a few days since his death, and I’ve rushed back from overseas. My older brother and I are tasked with the grim job of cleaning, removing, deciding, and neatly packaging up a life. It isn’t pretty or neat. But, it’s unexpectedly tender. I’m wondering when it’s going to sink in properly. When I’m going to really cry. I’m feeling like I don’t feel anything I should be feeling. I wonder whether I’m doing this right. I feel guilty. When we leave for the day, we feel acrid and stained. When I get back to my mum’s house I shower and scrub before I can face my children.
We go back in the next day and the next. The flat no longer makes me retch. I sit longer now, now I’ve called the men’s shelter who will take away the furniture they can use, and now we’ve made 8 trips to the dump. There are old papers and photos I’ve never seen before. There are photos of me and my brothers with pudding-bowl haircuts and schoolkid smiles. He kept them. He kept everything. There are old love letters, and notes about steam trains, and riddles and beer mats. There are rather a lot of letters from HM Prison. There are bailiffs and words-of-honour and fines and promises. There are beer mats. There are all the cards I ever sent him. There are the internal organs of a hundred typewriters. There are bits and there are bobs.
DELERIUM: “Have you ever spent days and days and days making up flavors of ice cream that no one's ever eaten before? Like chicken and telephone ice cream? Green mouse ice cream was the worst. I didn't like that at all.”
[Neil Gaiman, The Sandman Vol.7, Brief Lives.]
This week's monday noodle is all about metaphor.
What is a metaphor for?
For engaging bits of our brains that refuse to be talked down from the ledge of reason and logic.
By fooling them with magic and story instead. When I'm creating images for my clients (or just for my own amusement) I usually start or end with metaphor. How else could this concept be portrayed? What's the story in this picture?
So, ready to play?
Agnes is...a figment of my imagination. In my head she has a world she inhabits, funny little quirks, fears and dreams like all of us. But who is Agnes? What might she represent to you? These questions need answering because it is Monday and noodle time is upon us. So, go boldly into the furthest reaches of your brain, take a play break for 5 minutes and share with us...
It's Monday. Time for creative thought cunningly disguised as play...
Think of a number between one and ten.
Multiply that number by five.
Add on three hundred and fifty.
Take away eleven...
It's a special Easter Monday noodle. (No, not chocolate flavour.) Ready to play?
“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.”
― Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
I got an email newsletter the other day from someone I’d consider a peer in my industry. She explained how she’d been busy with a new baby, and shared her top tips for managing work and overwhelm. When she got the the ‘I schedule me-time, and treat myself to a massage every week’ my mind flipped a switch.
She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to those other people. I’m not the kind of person who schedules me-time. Who gets massages. Who ringfences that time in her diary.
Last week we talked breakfast over money. Or money over breakfast. I still think Vegemite sucks.
So, what could be more fitting than this charming collection of teapots for you to print out, colour in and enjoy. But, before you get to do the doodling, you get to engage both sides of your brain in play.
Four questions to get you joining those Monday dots across your universe. Ready? Ok, go for it:
Monday is noodle day. Time to dig out an image from the Monday soup and present it on a plate for intelligent analysis. Or playful procrastination. Or whatever you'd like to call it. So.....let's have:
Imagine you are on the top of a very high building. It’s on fire.
There’s no way out. Then, enter Superman. Great, you think. Superman’s gonna save me. Awesome! You need Superman more at this moment than at any other moment. You’re on the edge. If you had marshmallows, they'd be toasted.
Imagine, though, if Superman flew towards you, pulled up abruptly and executed a perfect triple somersault with 3/4 twist and pike to finish. In mid air.
You stare open-mouthed in terror. Superman isn’t going to rescue you. What the f*ck is he doing? Superman is pretty impressed with himself. I mean, no-one else can nail that mid-air somersault like he did. He’s so unique.
You stare, and Superman does a few more tricks.
You burn to death, agonisingly. Superman flies over your charred remains some half hour later.
‘Man,’ he thinks, ‘something went down here’ - ‘too bad nobody stopped it.’
Howdy. Have you done your Most Important Tasks? Ready to play? Say yes. Good.
Today's #mondaynoodle is an emergency colouring. This is because I firmly believe that colouring-ins are not just the domain of eight-year-olds. And I'm fed up of printing out Ariel The Mermaid.
So, a real-life colouring for you on the theme of hats. And the chance to put your passion to work in a playful way by answering the following questions...