As the days get (very gradually) longer and there are some hints of spring, we've got lots more of our lovely online workshops to keep you hale and hearty. Whether you've never joined us before, haven't been for a while or you're one of our happy regulars, we'd love to see you on a Zoom screen soon...
Mel & Jess
When getting things wrong is so right!
'Why is this child holding her pencil like that?’ The school inspector’s words are etched in my memory. I was five years old and it was the 1960s so, of course, the comment was made in front of the whole class. I can’t remember what the teacher said. It was probably something along the lines of ‘she’s left-handed’, said in a hushed tone as though I were to be pitied which, on reflection, was fair enough given that everything back then was designed for right-handers. But I can recall the shame caused by this small act of public humiliation.
I now have two ways of holding my pen. If I’m being observed there is the ‘correct’ way – thumb and fingers neatly grouped around the pen. Alone or with friends, I revert to the ‘wrong’ way – two fingers above, two below the pen, the thumb at right angles. This has produced two distinct styles of handwriting: the first knows its place - is neat and tidy, always staying within the margins and ruled lines; the second goes wherever it wants, sprawling freely across the page, all flourishes and loops.
I won’t say I’ve been scarred by this, but it’s a good example of how early experiences of getting something ‘wrong’ can lead to a lifetime of having to get things ‘right’ (however wrong-headed that ‘wrongness’ is).
The quest for perfection is a futile one and ‘that way, madness lies’- but still I pursue it. Only now, there’s the respite that comes from my improv practices and teaching – from sharing a creative space with others where getting things ‘wrong’ is so often where the pure joy lies.
So, if I could go back to that 5-year-old me, I’d say, ‘Wow – you’re writing! Who cares how you hold your damn pencil!’
'Thank you so much Playful Being for providing a little space of light!'