I play the pattern game every morning right when I wake up to stimulate creative thinking and start the day on a positive, active note. I’m borrowing the pattern game from its improv source; it serves as the opening for Lloyd night teams at UCB. Most improvisers there hate it because it forces the audience to watch what is effectively a brainstorming session. The purpose of it, like all long-form openings, is to generate ideas, so while it may feel like a word association game at first, it’s actually idea association. In my writing practice with it, I ignore the performative elements that would make it work on stage and simply focus on the brain activity it inspires. I now wake up as an idea generator. It feels great.
And as the UCB manual notes, “the Pattern Game works all of the muscles in your brain that will make you a better improviser.” A better improviser translates, for me, to a better human being. It’s delightful exercise, and its benefits are manifold.
This post isn’t about praising the pattern game nor detailing its purpose in a long-form improv set. It’s about highlighting a discovery I stumbled into during one of my recent efforts. I guess I’m proud of it. What’s interesting in doing this exercise though is that it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from me. I’m just clearing space for things to come to me. In other words, these ideas are in the ether, and we have to create the conditions where we have the possibility of meeting them. They want to be heard, but we have to get rid of a lot of other noise to catch them.
Here was the series, stemming from “karma” as the word initiation:
24, reboots, faux-racially sensitive reboots, ghostbustas, ghostbusta rhymes
I jumped to reboot because I had just seen the trailer for the upcoming 24 reboot, and I went to faux-racially sensitive because it’s a black lead instead of Kiefer Sutherland. Then, Ghostbustas, what I imagined as the perfect blaxsploitation translation of Ghostbusters. And the lead? Ghostbusta Rhymes. Let me repeat that because it filled me with pure joy when I typed it: Ghostbusta Rhymes.
I’m not sure why this discovery tickled me so much. Maybe it’s how cool it would be for Busta Rhymes to be a ghostbuster, but then, to have the writers decide to use his stage name to create the character’s name. So stupid and so perfect. Ghostbusta Rhymes, in my mind, might be the coolest action hero ever. World, get on it.