When we got home in the evening I went immediately to my yarn collection to begin to work out some of my thoughts- and suddenly I felt overwhelmed. The designer was fighting for permission to play, while the practical one wanted to make something useful. I think I'll start by grouping my yarns, I thought. Let's just do swatches, I thought. Only then did the creative side interrupt with this thought: What about making miniature prototypes of those little sketches of yours. Practical reply: How about just tying up the loose ends on the garments in the line marked "Unfinished but knitted" Don't be so frivolous!!!
Guess who won? Miss Practical, of course. When, i could do no more "finishing", I allowed myself the "pleasure" of playing with a cotton yarn and a technique for creating ruffles up the side of a garment. It was gratifying and resulted in a small accomplishment but nothing new was begun - not one of my wonderful ideas was even attempted. It was as if I was rationing my own creativity - and approaching it slowly by trying to build on a solid foundation of practicality.
I will always remember one Tony Awards Presentation when Julie Taymor got up on stage and thanked her parents for giving her permission to "play, play, play". That one comment has stuck with me for years. It's hard to play hard , especially when the play doesn't result in immediate usefulness. Like many others, I was brought up to think of play as something one earned the right to do only after lots of hard "real" work. Work that cleaned a house, work that put clothes on one's back or or a roof over your head. Play could not do that, and therefore was of no real value. The intellectual side of me sees this as fallacy, but the emotional side of me grapples with this constantly. The Puritan ethic of hard work was necessary to physical survival, but survival of the spirit is the ultimate salvation - and for that I need to play.
So play i will - tomorrow, right after i finish an assignment for a client. Right after I attend the Gift Show - looking for more inspiration. Right after I make dinner. Right after I read the last 3 issues of the New Yorker. Right after I pull together those umpteen pictures I've been promising to post. Right!