Free Play – The Power Of Improvisation In Life And The Arts.

 

Not purely about improvisation in music but covers painting, writing and all forms of art in a general manner. The main theme of the book is to learn the art of your instrument / method of painting / rules of novel writing, and then to cast off all adult pre-conceptions and enjoy what you are doing as a child would.

I suppose this sort of book, not exactly a self-help book, is purchased to improve the future of the reader. I didn’t realise that it would, rather, inform my past. All through the reading of the book I was reminded of my youth; learning chess to a level where I could take it seriously and compete, not wanting to compete so giving up chess completely; enjoying the freedom of running with a rugby ball, side stepping opponents, being picked for the school team and hating the competition to win at all costs; the joy of running laps in the summer sunshine in my lunch hours, being picked for a county trial where three were picked to represent, and coming fourth with a sigh of relief.

 

I have always known the child in me, have never wanted to be great at one thing, always wanted a little knowledge of all things, much as a child growing up with its brain acting like a sponge; much like a Project Manager instructing many trades to complete a major project.

 

My son-in-law once told me he was jealous of the fact that I could get down to floor level with my grandchildren and play with the same imagination as them. It comes naturally I suppose and is one of the reasons I took up novel writing. For me the whole beauty of writing a novel is the act of keeping the imagination flowing, the finished, polished article then being published. After that, all is nought. The main enjoyment comes from the first draft when the mind goes into someone else’s head and you act like them and talk like them and smell what they smell. The head improvises and goes into Free-Play and is only halted by the need to edit.

 

I once read a note by an author that stated that for him, the act of writing a novel was like the act of making love. The publishing was the climax and after that was the unknown. Would she stay or go, would the critics like the book, would she become pregnant, would the book sell.

 

I’m not sure how I got my copy of Free Play. Sometimes I’m reading something, maybe darting around the internet for research, and something will catch my eye. It is possible that this book came to me in that way. All I know is that I was sat in the UK and it arrived from the USA from a company that recycles unwanted books. I’m glad it was unwanted and glad I started reading it.

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