Playful Resources

January 7th, 2009

Grammyandme I've been hearing from a number of people about their resistance to play and oddly enough, that gets me a little excited. I get excited because I believe that resistance is telling and it most likely means that those of us who feel some resistance to play, really, really need to get playful!!

Rowena mentioned struggling with the theme because she really wanted to take her creativity seriously this year. And I totally loved that image because I've been there myself oh so many times. Imagine me pounding my fists on the table and shouting,

"It's time to get serious! I'm going to be creative now and it's going to be amazing! Seriously! No smiling!"

Sounds inspiring, right? No? I know for me, when I get too serious or when I feel restricted in some way around what I'm creating, I tend to get all stiff and what I create tends to lack a certain flow. When I create from this place of "have to" and "should", the creation tends to have an energy that you may not be able to name, but you can see something is not quite right. It looks a bit, well, uptight.

Play helps me return to the good stuff, the inspiration, the sheer joy of creating. So, if you're feeling any resistance to playing, I want to whisper in your ear,

"Go play! See what happens!"

I watched the movie Chocolat this weekend. What a gorgeous movie! (And not just because Johnny Depp is in it. Ahem.) The movie is full of magic, gorgeous color, and a wonderful story. It definitely made me feel more playful just watching it. Are there movies, books, music, or other resources that make you feel especially playful?

Here are some of my favorite playful resources, some meant to inspire you to play and others to make you laugh (because laughter often leads to playfulness!) I'd love to hear some of your resources for play too!!

Movies: Chocolat, Amelie, The Never Ending Story, The Princess Bride, The Goonies,
Books: Eat Mangoes Naked by SARK, the Harry Potter series, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life by Nina Wise,
Music: Weird Al, Bjork, They Might Be Giants
Silliness: Lazy Sunday, Laughing Baby, Ninja Cat
Other ideas: Crayons, coloring books, doodling, dancing in your pajamas, making a fort in your living room (or from a large box like I did with my Grammy in the picture above)...have fun!

19 Responses

I just wanted to share this link with you. It’s a vert short video I made one day when I was lamenting my inability to play.

I saw Chocolat too! And yes it is such a nice movie.

Yes, of course that I’ve seen Chocolat movie! But of course – Chocolat book is ten times better!
I love all Joanne Harris books, all of them! And do you read James Herriot books? They are really touching and playfull sometimes!
Kind regards from Poland – we have rather severe winter now – it’s -20 Celsius deegrees now!

I love your list of sources for inspiration. Chocolat is a luscious movie. SARK is a playful one. I loved meeting her last summer. Play really is a good theme for this month. I wish I could stay home and play today rather than brave this wintery mess that we are getting.

Dude. You stole my movies!! haha

I will add Under the Tuscan Sun, Like Water for Chocolate, Frieda Kahlo, and Big Fish! :)

Thank you for the resources :)

great post! I want to get serious this year too, but I feel like I’m playing every time I create something, and I like that feeling!! So, I’m just going to try to play more everyday:)

The Nightmare Before Christmas, Amelie, Big Fish, James and the Giant Peach, Benny & Joon…oh so many others. I love the feeling of play that I get from creating…especially when I just do it for the sake of the process and not focusing on the outcome.
Peace & Love,

playing is great. it reminds me that being serious just makes me so uptight i dont do anything creative at all. with playing in mind I got out my pastels and am laying down loads of colour and smearing it everywhere with my fingers. so much fun!

another blog friend of mine highly recommended the movie Miss Potter to me, and we watched it last night, courtesy of NetFlix. I found it very stimulating, creatively: the photography was beautiful, Beatrix’s watercolors were wonderful, and the story behind Beatrix’s struggle was one that I can sometimes relate to! So, I highly recommend it!
Thanks for your blog…….I’m enjoying it.

I’m not very good at playing, either, but I intend to do my best to try. I’m going to pick up a box of crayons – plain old Crayola crayons. And maybe even a colouring book!


I dance in my pajamas all the time. I even throw in a song or two. Ha!

I’m having fun with Creative Every Day! Stop by if you get a chance :)

Hey now! Who gave you the direct dial to my internal monologue?

I’ve decided it’s more important to make my life what I want it to be, including play, joy, meaningfulness, peace, journaling, beauty, laughter, rain, music, children, reading, writing and art.

The business needs to fit into THAT. I don’t want my life to be “serious” and unfun and all about work. I want my work to be about my life.

That new focus helps. And I plan to post a drawing I did about Building Joy. A playhouse in the trees.

How about Dr. Seuss? ;)

~Magick Magick~

Great post Leah! And kudos for the positive attention coming your way. I can tell that you deserve it…you inspire all of us.

I would recommend reading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Did you know that it has been in continuous print runs since it appeared in 1961? That is amazing! I convinced my 10 yo to read it for his project on a fantasy novel. Our whole family is having fun with it. For creativity’s sake we were finishing up the scale model that we built of the Kingdom of Wisdom including such memorable sights as the Doldrums, the Foothills of Confusion, the Moutains of Ignorance the Valley of Sound and the Forest of Sight. I plan to re-read this book to my 7 yo this month. Very creative.

Yesterday I located my pocket calendar to record the creative every day activities. And today I posted to my blog about a serious topic…the pirating of images on the site Polyvore. An artist friend has been afflicted by unauthorized pilfering of her hard earned artwork. All I am saying is be very very vigilant all you artists!

If you care to check it out:
I would love to have your comments!

Thanks for providing a space of playfulness and light Leah! Enjoy the day!
Erin, Tesori Trovati Jewelry

Chocolat is one of my favourite movie, I love it :D

i love chocolat and amelie as well… i also love MIRROR MASK , AUGUST RUSH,and POLLACK… there are actually so many great movies listed in your comments allready!
music… anything by GORRILAZ, CLOUD CULT, and MEIKO
my kids have lots of art books that help me be playfull.. you could always rent them at the library.
i,m a homeschooling momma so we play a lot….

oh i just found this on keri smith’s website
if that doesnt help you play then….

Yes, it is quite impossible to listen to They Might Be Giants with a frown on your face. Another great thing is to get up and dance when you watch VH1 Classic and 80s videos come on. Especially when my husband is there and it totally annoys him because he was in high school during the 80s. And the dog joins me.

Sometimes I cry when I am being creative!

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