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Games For Inspiration

Every day writers everywhere are yearning for the Muse to open her arms and bestow brilliance upon their verse or story or article. That’s to be expected. But have you ever wondered exactly where Muse might live?

I ask this simple question because I hadn’t seriously thought about it before a few days ago. When I’d rather be doing anything else but writing, I play games on my computer to give my mind a rest. Others, I’m sure, do word games and the like to open the doors of creativity.

I’m not talking about writer’s block, really; just those times when boredom with existing material has trumped the desire to work it.

I found that when I play Mahjong on the computer something odd happens. At least for me. The tileset that I use is a standard one–all Chinese characters. For those who play the game in it’s varied forms it can become as enticing as chess and as addictive as solitaire.

I allow my mind free rein while playing, a kind of mini-mental vacation. But the other day, I heard myself relating verbally to each tile as I clicked on it. That startled me, as well you can imagine. I was actually creating a small fantasy adventure, laden with mystery. Each tile represented a piece of the puzzle. Four scrolls were taken east along with eight bars of gold. The treasure came to… and so on.

Players of traditional style Mahjong will know that those scrolls are a character with the numeric designation–four, east is its own tile referring to wind, and the gold is a tile that has a numeric designation of 8 with a red bar below. In ranch brand lingo it would say Eight Bar Ranch.

By the end of the game, whether I’ve won it or not, I have come away with a new creative surge in my heart and mind. It hums in the background giving me tiny bits of itself in quiet song as I go back to work. The game has allowed my mind to step back a moment to regroup. I now can see the story plot I’m working on in a new light, a more lively light, that can take on new proportions and complexity. Even articles can look different because I have seen a new angle, a new question to be answered.

Psychologists would probably say that the very act of play resets our perceptions and attitudes, which allow the individual a chance to look with fresh eyes at whatever comes next. That’s a good enough theory for me at this time. I don’t have to analyze it so long as it continues to give me something usable.

Speaking of which, I really need to finish one of the projects.

Take care and play with you Muse when she’s not being cooperative. Everyone/thing can use playtime to advantage. Ask any puppy or kitten.

A bientot,


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