Stephen Nachmanovitch's Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art offers a compelling view of creativity as playful practice, a model that engaged and motivated my initially apprehensive experimental writing class. Nachmanovitch's erudition, provocative examples, and narratives of personal experience make his book a good choice for university students. Especially useful are his chapters addressing the nature of inspiration, the nature of play, the importance of practice (of continually and playfully doing), and the cultural tendency to associate play with childhood. In particular, the “Childhood's End” chapter, which discusses how some aspects of schooling and the media block our inherent creativity, resonated among my students. After sharing their tragicomic experiences of institutional obstacles, they welcomed the course's strange readings and even stranger writing exercises as invitations to recover some “raw creativity.” And I found their enthusiasm contagious.
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Janis Butler Holm; Nachmanovitch's Free Play as a Context for Experimental Writing. Pedagogy 1 October 2010; 10 (3): 575–586. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2010-010
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