Archive for January, 2016

Do-Tell: Brady Gill

I’m lucky to know him as Honey Bear (his camp nickname), but Brady Gill is someone I deeply respect for freeing us from shoulds and entering a line of work that most would never dream is reasonable OR feasible as a career (he’s a play expert!). Read on to hear about how that happened, why play moves the human race forward, and what he’s currently most excited about.

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How did you get into what you do?

When I was six, I started going to summer camp and for the next 26 years, I have only taken two summers off. At camp I learned to be my best self and how to see the best in others. Through holding every position imaginable including Camp Director for 5 years, I had the opportunity to teach play to others see the transformation it allowed.

Three years ago, my friend Levi Felix, who had been doing Digital Detox retreats for the previous two years, told me his interest in starting a summer camp for adults, and I jumped in! I was so excited to bring my experience and skill set to “Grown Ups” and give them the same opportunities for play that I was providing for kids.

People are starting to recognize the importance of play, but to you, why is play so important, regardless of age?

For me, play is what keeps us fully present and alive in this world. Play engenders four major characteristics that I believe contribute to a wonderful and happy life:

Courage
Curiosity
Creativity
Communication

When you are playing a game, you have set rules and infinite possibilities. In many ways this is the same description of what life is, but in a game the stakes are low (nothing terrible will happen to your physical or emotional well-being) so you can PLAY. In doing so, you are practicing what it might be like to actually live life in the same way. You can try new strategies, discover different ways of doing things and be innovative, all while laughing and working with others.

Most of us are at our worst when our “Fight or Flight” brain is active. It’s when we lash out, run away and generally feel anxious and upset. Without play, that part of our brain is going off all the time, because it doesn’t really know what is a threat and what isn’t. But in a playful life/world, we are constantly learning what is dangerous and what we’ll survive. In doing so, we become more comfortable in our own bodies, around others and in the world around us.

I believe that the utopian world we are going towards is a truly playful world. The more we play together, the closer we get to that world.

“Neoteny” is “remaining young”, and it may be ironic that it’s not well-known, because human evolution has been dominated by it. Humans have evolved to their relatively high state by retaining the immature characteristics of their ancestors. Humans are the most advanced of mammals – although a case could be made for the dolphins – because they seldom grow up. Behavioral traits such as curiosity about the world, flexibility of response, and playfulness are common to practically all young mammals but are usually rapidly lost with the onset of maturity in all but humans.

Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.
– Tom Robbins

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Why do you love what you do and what gave you the courage to go after that?

Simple. . . I love to play. I have been playful all my life and I am at my best, and feel my best, when I am playing with others. For me there was never any choice but to follow this path. I am just incredibly fortunate to be following it at a time, when we are so play deprived that we’re starving for it. Big ups to the camps that have taught me everything I know: Camp Tawonga, Camp Galileo and Camp Grounded.

Tell us two things you are excited about right now.

Outside of work, I am currently working on self publishing my inner children’s stories, which will have a Kickstarter launched by the end of February and be fully published by the summer. I’m also about to start taking sketch comedy writing classes!

For more on Brady or to book him to speak at your next event, visit his website.

Adult adult coloring books are in

Adult coloring books are nothing new, but what’s been less covered is all the “adult adult” coloring books out there. These could be the perfect solution to add some more spice to wine night or get you in the mood for whatever you fancy. If we get Porous Walker to make one, I’m so in.

Fill Me In – This shop has Kama Sutra-themed coloring books, calendars, greeting cards and more. Also due out soon is Just The Tip, a male adult coloring book. That Kickstarter runs until June 20th.

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just-the-tip

The Fetish Coloring Book – If kink’s your thing, there’s a coloring book for that.

fetish-coloring-book

Dick Dog and Friends – Blending humor and pervertedness, this one is sure to get a second look when it’s prominently displayed on your coffee table.

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Color My Boobs – Not one to discriminate, this book promises “an amazing variety of boobs for every taste.”

Color-My-Boobs

Sex Position Coloring Book – It’s tagline is “SEX IS FUN! COLORING IS FUN! NOW, COLORING SEX IS FUN!!!” Nuff said.

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p.s. If you’re looking to meet like-minded folks that share your affinity for adult coloring, check out Boobie Trap in Bushwick. They have a stack of pages for you to color while getting your buzz on.

Do Tell: Mark SaFranko

I’m fascinated by the contemporary writing process. How do people today decide to type their thoughts into existence? Do they still write by hand? Where do they sit? What inspires them to keep putting words to paper?

I’ve been thinking about this particularly of late, as I myself have been at a dead-end in terms of “literary” ambition. I just can’t seem to muster the desire to read nor write.

It’s with this all buzzing around my brain that I came across Mark SaFranko in an in-depth 3AM magazine interview. Aside from his eye-catching book titles, it was his frank tone and subtle style that drew me to his work.

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Mark’s a self-taught writer, with names like Bukowski or Thompson thrown about to describe him. I just purchased his wider known work Hating Olivia (although his latest two novels were The Suicide and No Strings) and have since been keen to get an insight into how he thinks.

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Then, I shot him a quick e-mail to hear how he works. His answers below to serve as creative inspiration for the coming year, for all of us to write and to read more.

Who are you writing for?

Myself. I simply love the physical feeling of words splashing onto paper, or music into a tape recorder, or paint onto canvas. Artistic creation, even if it’s not particularly good, is the only thing that’s ever made me feel that I’ve accomplished something.

What do you write about?

Anything. But people mostly. Myself. Characters. I’m most interested in individual human beings and the mystery of what’s inside of them, and not politics or social movements, or anything that reaches beyond the individual.

When do you often write?

I start in the morning and hope to get several hours in every day. And I go seven days a week without fail. Sometimes, when I can, I work on holidays as well. Every day of the year.

Where do you write?

Anywhere I can. My favorite spots are on top of the bed or on the couch, with my feet up. I try to make myself as comfortable as possible. Sometimes I write with the television on. Sometimes listening to instrumental music. In all conditions, really.

Why do you write?

I’m long past trying to figure that out, but it became a compulsion quite early in my life. Once I started, I was hooked and there was no turning back.

How do you write?

Many years ago I wrote in long hand, then moved to the typewriter, now of course the computer. Writing for several daily newspapers made me think of the typewriter as an extension of my hands and it also molded my style, for better or worse. I used to outline comprehensively when I was younger, now I only use broad outlines and let matters go where they want to go.

I love the lucidity and honesty of Mark’s answers. Why not put your feet up and read one of Mark’s books after ordering it on Amazon? A new collection of stories, Incident On Tenth Avenue, will appear in France on January 25.

Lastly, a heads-up that I plan to use the above 5 W interview structure as an open, on-going dialogue with the independent writing community.

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