Having spent the past six weeks writing a 10,000 word essay on depiction, I must admit I have felt my creative, playful, joyful spirit slip into monochrome and grumpiness. Studying for a PhD of course requires hours of reading and studying, referencing and reflecting, but when you are a colourful creative, there is a desperate need to create. But then there is the issue to be faced: what do I create? How do I feed that playfulness, how do I nurture that creativity and bring colour back, how do I open the door again to playfulness?
It has forced me to reconsider what playfulness is, which I feel Barnett (2006) does very well when she seeks to define it.
Playfulness is the predisposition to frame (or reframe) a situation in such a way as to provide oneself (and possible others) with amusement, humour, and/or entertainment.
Individuals who have such a heightened predisposition are typically funny, humorous, spontaneous, unpredictable, impulsive, active, energetic, adventurous, sociable, outgoing, cheerful, and happy, and are likely to manifest playful behaviour by joking, teasing, clowning, and acting silly.’ (p. 955)
So then, what situation can I frame? And by this I mean what ordinary, mundane activity faces me every day that gives me an opportunity to use my playfulness to turn it into something other than it usually is?
I awoke in the early house with the phrase: ‘Punctuating the mundane with playfulness.’ So I will start with something I do regularly – my normal one mile walk into town. And in order to meet my need to get some colour back into my life, I have decided to record that walk in different ways, starting with the colour red.
Once I gather my information, I will use it to fuel my imagination and creativity and see where it leads.
‘Keeping curiosity active will always exercise your imagination. It’s how ideas are fed.’(Stanton, 2018, p.46)
So here are my findings:
The red walk:
Just seeing blocks of red has had a positive impact. I will continue to gather for a while until a thread of inspiration leaps out, fuels that curious streak and results in something. What, I do not know, but I feel with this exercise, I have started to turn the handle again on the door of playfulness.
Barnett, L. A. (2006) ‘Accounting for leisure preferences from within: The relative contributions of gender, race or ethnicity, personality, affective style, and motivational orientation’, Journal of Leisure Research, 38(4), 445–475.
Stanton, P. (2008) Conscious Creativity: Look. Connect. Create. Brighton: Leaping Hare Press.