Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.  DR. SEUSS
Actually, it’s more often called a “swipe” file, but I think “fun” file sounds more … well, fun … and less felonious. To create one, look for things you find interesting, unusual or entertaining. It could be a humorous quote, an intriguing image, an amazing fact, whatever. These are things that make you smile, laugh or shake your head in amusement or wonder. One day, when you’re taking life or your work too seriously, you may be able to use one of these fun things to help you find a solution that’s more interesting or novel. Here are two examples from my “fun file.”
I’ve been fascinated with the art of Belgian artist René Magritte (1898-1967) ever since being introduced to him in university art history classes. He's best known for his 50+ paintings of men in bowler hats, many of them with their faces partially obscured or turned away from the viewer, often facing the sky. A climactic scene in the 1999 heist film, The Thomas Crown Affair, plays tribute to Magritte’s bowler-hatted man as an army of them flood the museum—faces diverted from security cameras—allowing Thomas Crown to escape undetected. For years, I’ve collected images of Magritte's paintings and turned to my fun file for inspiration when creating an illustration (sans the bowler) for a poster and brochure cover.
I grew up playing chess and competed a few times as a kid. I also enjoyed math, lettering scholastically in Algebra 1 in 9th grade. (Yes, you could letter academically at my junior high. Take that, jocks!) I also nailed Geometry and Algebra 2 in high school. Therefore, the following qualifies as a personal fun fact.
The 18th century mathematician Leonhard Euler made a square where each horizontal and vertical row totals 260. Stopping halfway on each equals 130. Even more intriguing is that a chess knight, starting its L-shaped moves on square 1, can hit all 64 squares in numerical order. I still haven’t figured out how to incorporate this oddity into a project but I haven’t given up hope.
Now, make your move. Create your own fun file. For tips on building a fun file, check out an earlier Musing about jackdawing.
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