Writing is like walking in a deserted street.
Out of the dust in the street
you make a mud pie.
John el Carre
And when there’s no dusty street (and you need to research book shelves) you can always make a trip to Ikea where the playground is adult sized and the exit’s at the end of the one-way maze.
My 52 Author Date challenge emphasizes the value of play. “It’s vital to keep a healthy reserve of playfulness, for it is the flow of play - so abundant in early childhood - which allows us to experiment, to push boundaries, to avoid closing down our ideas too early, and to get down to the serious business of completing a novel.”
The willingness to play is crucial to the creative spirit. It’s probably behind some of the psychology of large stores like Ikea where shoppers not only browse the aisles, but are invited to step into tiny homes. Decked out with space saving ideas and solutions, it’s hard not to reach out and see how they work.
If you’re like me you’ll dawdle through every display on every corner. You'll sit on couches, open drawers, lift lids and slide skillets over stove tops, imagining you’re the ruler of a world slightly different to the one you left behind that day.
My Beloved and I made such a trip to Ikea, yesterday. For a few minutes we went our separate ways, and like Alice, I slipped into a Wonderland of play in a tiny house, only big enough to suggest how its solitary inhabitant might live.
The open plan bed/kitchen/bathroom/laundry/sitting area wrapped me in a few moments of delicious playtime.
Could I live here? (Probably.) All alone? (Well, it is kinda cute.) Where would I put my computer? (Over here, on the kitchen table) Would I keep that ugly filing cabinet? (Nope, too tin-can like) Enough bathroom storage? (Possibly - wall space used well) Enough feminine touches to balance the space saving genius? (Yes, oodles of sweetness. Look at the hanging clock!).
By the time my Beloved found me, I’d played out a day in the life of the person I’d be if I lived in that space.
It was fun. I played. I imagined myself there. Alone.
Right next door a glossy red kitchen taunted us to play ‘would you ever buy me?’
Too modern for Crabapple House, but maybe...if we lived in an inner city warehouse conversion far removed from the apple trees and hydrangeas I currently tend. And if so...how else might I change? What boundaries would I push to become the woman with the ruby red cupboards instead of the ruby slippers?
As an author I’m encouraged to not avoid shutting down idea-streams too early, because it’s in that space of play and imagination I get down to the serious business of completing a novel.
Ramping up conflict. Taking a character from a tolerable scenario to an intolerable one. Letting dialogue spill from lips which may never have uttered the unforgivable.
That's why Einstein said, 'Play is the highest form of research.' It's when we let our mind play, that we begin to solve problems.
When's the last time you played?
When's the last time you played... in Ikea?
Blessings for a wonderful weekend,