The Game That Plays Back

I’ve never understood why I like to write aside from that nebulous and imprecise designation of “it feels good.”

Then I read Lynda Barry’s What It Is. In it, she writes about all sorts of things that have to do with making art, but what struck me was her understanding of what we have as kids that we lose as adults. Which actually reminds me of this great quote from Howard Ikemoto:

“When my daughter was about seven years-old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”

We forget how serious the business of play is to kids; they are rescuing people from volcanoes, they witness the deaths of their toys, they have to save a village with a cure only they can create… and it is real, because to a kid, the game takes on a life of its own. When they play, something else happens that allows for that gravity to take hold, vanish the outside world, and let the kid play without the worry that everyone knows its fake. The game plays back.

I like writing, because when I am at my best, I am outside my little green office, and watching the possibilities unfold. Writing is my favorite game.

If you’ve ever wanted to write, or draw, or make, and felt like there wasn’t any point to it, please read What It Is by Lynda Barry. If you have ever felt depressed, read One Hundred Demons, also by her. Or if you want to take a total mind trip, read her book Cruddy. Okay, just go read Lynda Barry, she’s amazing.

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