I was writing this morning, sitting in bed, couldn’t wait to get going after a few days break. I am working on memoir pieces that I want to bring to completion this winter. Twenty two years ago I did a couple of creative writing courses, fiction and non-fiction. The few memoir pieces about my childhood in Germany I wrote back then have tugged at me and called out to me through the years. These stories were like sepia postcards, nostalgic and naive. Years later there came anguished soul searching pieces and ‘trying to be literary’ pieces. But I gave it up after a while. It all went into the too hard basket—my English language skills, unwieldy mind—too many expectations— too much a means to an end.
To what end do I want to complete them? I’ll see. Much to learn along this writing journey, I am sure. I am attached to the pieces written over the years and try to use them—knit around them and adding pieces. The whole thing could turn out like a really shapeless blanket. Maybe like the first shawl I knitted as a child. I lost stitches, the edges grew in and out, zigzagging out of control. Nonetheless I felt satisfaction, I had made a shawl. I loved knitting. Never complex patterns, I have to say.
My writing is just as ungainly and it will take time—hours and hours— but that’s okay. I am fulfilling a promise that I made to myself. It is is part of the cleaning, clearing, sorting, emptying process that is the privilege of these winter days.
Peter Gray on his blog on play says:
‘One reason why play is such an ideal state of mind for creativity and learning is because the mind is focused on means. Since the ends are understood as secondary, fear of failure is absent and players feel free to incorporate new sources of information and to experiment with new ways of doing things. And because the player’s attention is focused on process more than outcome, the player’s mind is not distracted by fear of failure.’
I only realise now that ‘play’ is my theme. It’s been my theme for the last ten years. To discover the conditions of play instead of following the rules of striving toward the goal.
A mind that is free to play is a revelation to me. Life is so much more mysterious and exciting that way and so much more inclusive and wide.
I have a friend, who is living in China. Her and her partner play…. with balls, rocks, hula hoops, acrobatics and much more. They are the ‘Wobbly Spoon’ and here is their website.
To the wobble.