The Importance of Play

Poets understand that they do not know what they mean, and that is their strength. . . .Writing teaches us to recognize when we have reached the limits of language, and our knowing, and are dependent on our senses to ‘know’ for us – Kathleen Norris

Creative play is something that has been sidelined in our culture for far too long. There are many reasons for this, not least the fact that it doesn’t equate to 21st century versions of ‘success’ or ‘productivity’. It’s a bit scary – who knows what might happen or how much of a fool we might make of ourselves in the process? And besides, it won’t bring home the bacon.

But in fact, that’s not quite true: slowly, over the last few years, I’m coming to realise that creative play is exactly what brings home the bacon, only the bacon is the journey of self-realisation (getting wise to the ego and its dependency on dualism) and expressive freedom – things I value far more than money. I’ve discovered that the arts I’m not trained or practiced in (and therefore am not ‘good’ at, according to pathological cultural ideals), liberate me in ways I’d never imagined possible. I’ve been making time to dance, play around with voice and sound, and to paint. Not only is it great fun (and sometimes challenging, especially in group work), but it also directly feeds my writing. The inner critic has gone quiet recently and my poems seem to be moving beyond intention. I don’t really know what that means, except that it equates to a realm of creativity where I tap into a kind of deep knowing that has nothing to do with me (Me). The ego steps aside.

This is something that’s interesting me more and more these days and I’m currently developing workshops for writers, focusing specifically on the relationship between the voice on the page, the inner voice and the voice we present to the world. I’ll be offering my first workshop in this in November 2016. Please contact me if you’re interested.

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