Mama always said I was an old soul.
“You were always so serious,” she said. “Even when you were a baby.”
When I was six months old her mother—my maternal grandmother—was diagnosed with breast cancer. And she had to wean me from her breast for the struggle of it—the hard work of balancing the care of a newborn and that of her dying mother.
This is the world I was born to: one of hunger, poverty, addiction, complicated parent-love. Play was always a serious business for little girl me. I went inside the world of imagination to escape the reality of life. It was a solitary task, a quiet thing. Something in my makeup resisted the kind of play lived out loud.
It’s taken me almost fifty years to understand that this is okay. Yes, this is okay, but there is so much more to play. And I have only just begun.
Play looks different for different kinds of people. When we understand this and accept this, it opens us to new ways. New ways of playing, new ways of seeing, new avenues of creativity, new ways of being.
Play is a powerful thing.
Will you come along on a play journey with me? Sometimes these things are best undertaken with a guide. How about two guides? My friend (and fellow writer) Laura Brown and I are embarking upon an exploration of all things play. Over the course of eight or twelve weeks (you choose), we will lead an adventurous few through an odyssey of play—sampling different ways of play that might enliven our creative lives, enrich our writing and hopefully, add beauty to our everyday living.
Read more about it over at TSPoetry. It’s going to be a grand adventure. It may be just the thing to breathe new life into your writing practice. It may be just the thing to awaken the old soul in you to a fresh view of this tired world. After all, writing is a form of play—a way of seeing. To write well requires opening the eyes in new and different ways. We’re going to have so much fun finding playful ways to achieve this.
Photo by Samuel David Rinehart, Creative Commons, via Flickr.