I heard Dr. Gordon Neufeld talk about the importance of play in childhood development. He said the difference between work and play is simple:
Work is about enjoying the end result.
Play is about enjoying the activity itself.
When an artist plays with an idea, he looks at it from every angle, not to get it done, but from sheer enjoyment. He explores all of its possibilities like a child playing in a sandbox. And through play, the artist develops her idea into something masterful.
When an artist merely works on an idea, she stifles the creative process in a rush to the finish line.
The artists responsibility is to take play very seriously.
I have played with an idea in my mind for the last 5 years. It is a short film –sweet, touching, funny– awkward boy meets beautiful girl… I have watched this movie in my mind’s eye about a hundred times. And now I feel ready to work!
You have to eat a mango when it’s ripe. A day too early and the meat is tough. A day too late and its all mushy. It’s like that with ideas too. If you try to make it happen too fast, it doesn’t have a chance to ripen. If you play with an idea for too long, it goes rotten.
Do you have an idea kicking around in your head? My advice to you is play, play play… and then work, work work!
Click here to learn more about the film!
You think about your costume for months before the big night. You finally decide on Batman. You have to convince your Mom not to sew you a costume but to buy the real one from the store. She does. You try it on the night before. You really look like Batman. You wear it to bed. Halloween day you arrive at school as Batman. Thirteen other kids are wearing the exact same costume. But that’s OK. This is only a dress rehearsal. Tonight you will hit the streets of Gotham armed with a flashlight. You can’t wait.
You get home and prepare for nightfall. The sky darkens. You mount up. Your sister looks silly in full ballerina attire. But you aren’t going with your sister. Wait. What? Your mother insists you’re going with your sister. This does not help the Batman persona. Fine. Just as you are about to leave, your mother tells you it is freezing out there and hands you a winter jacket. You protest that your costume will be jeopardized. It’s no use. She is zipping you up and covering your glory. Your black leggings and mask are all that is visible to the eye. You never pictured Batman in a red snowsuit. You knock on your neighbour’s door and hear the words you never want to hear on Halloween, “And what are you?”
“Batman”, you mumble under your breath.
You arrive home 2 hours later with a pillow case full of A1 Contraband. You will spend the next 6 days devouring 4 months worth of candy. Life is good.
I have friends who avoid Halloween because of its roots in the occult. For a while, they managed to convince me that I should avoid this night of devilish revelry as well. Indeed, I have spent a few Halloween nights hiding in my kitchen for fear of the 6-year old knocking at my door.
But turning off all the lights and hiding in my own home felt wrong. This is the only time in the year where all the families in my neighbourhood are out meeting one another. Is this the time I should be hiding?
What about the whole occult thing? As a Christian, isn’t it wrong for me to partake in something whose origins are in the occult? Here’s a thought:
It’s wrong to do anything that violates your conscience. That is the compass God gave you to navigate your way through life. But I’m pretty sure that if you dig deep enough, everything has its roots in the occult. Perhaps the electric guitar was invented for devil worship. Maybe curtains were first used to block out the light so vampires could romp around the living room. Maybe the knife in my kitchen was designed to be a murderous weapon… so what? I use it for slicing bread. And I’m not going to throw it away. Kids in Halloween costumes are happy because they get to dress up and eat candy. That’s it.
If going out for Halloween would violate your conscience- leave your lights off. I’m going trick-or-treating. And I promise not to toilet paper your house ;o)