A conference entertainer handed out Play-Doh to the attendees.
She lead a social meet-and-greet, disguised in a writer’s lesson. Many sighed at the exercise because it required socialization from this introverted crowd. Typically I’m up for such extroverted fun, but I too sighed. It had been a long day. I was tired, didn’t feel like engaging, and just wanted to take in from the Keynote Speaker.
I found a group and introduced my Play-Dohless self. I hadn’t received any Play-Doh, which was fine with me. Hoping not to participate I said, “I don’t have any Play-Doh so I will be the team cheerleader.”
The instructions for the activity were announced: “Create something from your Play-Doh in 30 seconds. But keep a small piece set aside. Go!” My group begin crafting quickly, except for one woman. “Here.” She handed me half of her Play-Doh. Quickly taking it, and only 15 seconds left, I shaped a very sad looking cone-shaped object. Art was never my thing. Buzzer sounded.
Next, we had to exchange our “creation” with someone’s in the group. We were instructed to utilize the Play-Doh that was sent aside (break it in half again) and use that half to add something to the other person’s creation. This went on until each participant added their creativity to each sculpture.
Finally, the new creation was given back to the original crafter. I looked at mine. It began as a cone, then transformed into an ice cream cone, then someone added a hat. The last person added eyes and a mouth. My original cone transformed into something more complex than my original design. A lesson to writers that everyone plays a role in our “works” (editors, peers, other writers). We begin with our original work, hand it to someone else, who adds in their touches. We end up with something far better than what we started with. Something more complex and creative.
For me, another lesson had grasped the depths of my heart: I didn’t want to participate but another woman pulled me in. I didn’t feel the need to be a part of a group. I was fine with being the cheerleader. But this woman engaged me, drew me in, and made me feel included. She gave me what I didn’t have. Just by sharing Play-Doh.
What would our world look like if I shared just a piece of what I have with someone each day? If I drew them in and helped them belong?