This is the fiftieth installment of The Curious Creative, weekly 10-minute writing exercises for busy individuals interested in exploring their creativity. For the complete rationale, click here.
I came across this Friedrich Nietzsche quotation when I was a teenager and I held on to it tightly: “Man’s maturity: to regain the seriousness he had as a child at play.” At the time, it was a reminder to stay young and playful, to hold off on “adulting.” Nowadays, as a writer, I often think of creativity as a harkening back to the state of childhood play. As Nietzsche pointed out, play was neither half-hearted nor frivolous; it had intensity and focus perhaps unrivaled in adulthood. When in the flow of creating something, it’s that same dichotomy of intensity and playfulness that often leads me to an inspired piece of art. For this week’s Curious Creative, we’ll do a simple listing exercise to bring us back to our childhood worlds of play.
- Open your notebook to two empty pages side by side. Create seven columns and label them: BOOKS, OBJECTS, FICTIONAL CHARACTERS, TEACHERS, GAMES, ACTIVITIES, and OBSERVATIONS.
- Spent 10 minutes filling in each column with as many examples from your childhood as possible. My own example:
-Anne of Green Gables
-Little House on the Prairie
-Where the Wild Things Are
-Cabbage Patch Kids
-Kick the Can
-Capture the Flag
-Super Mario Brothers
-I made clothes out of paper and tape for crickets I collected from the garage.
-I raised Painted Lady Butterflies from eggs my mom ordered.
-People liked hanging out with you if you were funny.
-Playing video games for a couple hours was fun, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t.
-I was the fastest girl runner I knew.
How did you do? Did you enjoy reminiscing about your childhood? Did it feel playful to remember? Did remembering remind you to be more playful?
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Inspired by: Linda Barry’s Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor (Drawn & Quarterly, 2014)