Thursday 26 February 2015

The Creative Genius of Outer Children

I'm home in Edinburgh with wicked jet lag. I didn't sleep a wink on the flight to London, and I didn't have any kind of nap until I got on my second plane. Thus, I might commit more typos than usual.

I had a very good time overall, but what really strikes me, as I slowly read through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, is that I spent an unusual amount of time playing with children.

Pirate--well, Pirate plays a lot of video games, and I really hate video games, so I didn't play with Pirate like I did in the old days. (And it really was too cold to play outdoors.) However, he is learning how to play chess, and he taught me the rudiments, so we did play chess.

Mostly I played with younger children,  highly imaginative children who already have strong interest in the arts. I spent a lot of time with my niece Popcorn, drawing and colouring, admiring and choosing clothing, listening to her sing and watching her dance. I built things with her older brother Peanut, who loves to play out battle scenes with his Asterix figurines, with other figurines to supplement the Romans, so that the Romans aren't outrageously outnumbered by the Gauls, and with knights and other toy soldiers. He loves acting parts, especially the Sheriff.

Back in Toronto, I found myself entertaining my friend Lily's sons, Thing 1 and Thing 2. (Thing 1's paintings are quite interesting and pleasing to the eye.) They became entranced with one of the photos on my tablet: it is a tableau of two duelling frogs at the moment one stabs the second. I think the frogs are real==preserved by a brilliant taxidermist long ago. To answer the boys' questions, I made up spontaneous stories about the frogs, full of intrigue, kidnappings, lovers' triangles and violence. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were rapt; this was very flattering.

"That was very exciting!" declared Thing 1, cementing my eternal love for him.

I suspect that doing art--of any kind--with children is a really great way to foster one's own creativity. And now I am severely nappish.


  1. Commiserations on the jet lag, I get it from doing nights, it usually takes a few days to recover so I hope your nap was helpful.

    Have you seen Capucine?

    Lovely stories about your family. I wish I had friends with kiddos. I miss out a lot on that, life can feel fusty without them.


  2. Yes, children do add so much to one's social circle! Of course, they don't really go with dinner parties. However, they can and do enliven tea parties.

  3. That little French girl has a wonderful accent!


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