Word Prompt: Teach | Story Prompt: from the book “The Trickster’s Hat” by Nick Bantock

Write It Out: Instruction Video

In my second year at art college, one of the lecturers decided that our class was becoming a little too wrapped up in art with a capital A, and he decided to take us off into the local forest to do something different.

When we arrived, he told us we were going to make a scaled-down village out of sticks, stones, moss, and anything else we could find. We started to complain that it was childish. But he insisted, and slowly we began collecting bits and pieces. Within five minutes we were all so absorbed with our project that we barely noticed two hours pass.

When he finally called us together, we complained because we didn’t want to stop.

He asked us what the afternoon in the forest had taught us about art.

Being 17 and Londoners, our response was, “Dunno.”

“I’ll tell you,” he said. “You have learned to play, and in so doing you have learned the essence of your future craft.”

We had no idea how smart he was.

***

Heart Shaped Pillow – MEC 2017

There it sat on the bed. Plump and overfilled, as though just filled to bursting with love.  Or, perhaps, overcompensating. The fuzzy and comfortable heavy cotton fabric was bordered by beads that, although added a sparkle and beauty for the eye to behold, actually were quite prickly if the pillow was hugged. You wouldn’t want to actually use this pillow as a pillow – ouch, uncomfortable.  

It reminded him of a porcupine. Cute from a distance, dangerous up close. He’d kept it around despite its prickly nature to remind him. Of what? Of the two-sidedness of love? The good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the cuddly and the prickly. Safe and dangerous. Funny how that one object, tossed on a bed with no thought other than decoration, held so much meaning.  

“I really should just give that away,” he thought, knowing he wouldn’t, knowing it was the one thing he had that best symbolized their relationship. 

***

In a week that holds space for both Valentine’s Day and Family Day here, my thoughts again go to the concept of play, and how as adults, we may find we need to re-learn how to play. To remember that creativity is all about recapturing the fun of being creative. Getting past the judgment of whether or not something is worthy of your time and attention in order to discover that it was just what you needed. Does this resonate? Share your thoughts below!

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