[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Shelley Noble guest posting on the site today. If you’re seeking some creative fun, she has some ideas!]
As a writer I’m always living in my imagination, especially when I’m writing about summer at the beach during January in New Jersey. I was already working on my current beach novel, IMAGINE SUMMER, when the pandemic hit and Stay at Home orders were announced in New Jersey.
Little did I know then that this past year we would have to imagine summer for real. Because for those of us following the pandemic guidelines, there were no spontaneous day trips to the beach. Those of us living in cities in high rises didn’t even have easy access to the outdoors.
Fortunately, my protagonist, Skye Mackenzie was already considering the boundaries of creativity in our everyday lives and how to develop new ways of looking at the world. She runs a creativity without judgment store and workshop, open to children and adults, Imagine That, where there are only two rules: Help others and don’t make judgments.
So as the pandemic raged around us, Skye and I thought about imagination and creativity and how to nurture it when you don’t have your normal outlets. How to reach beyond the cupboards stocked with art supplies and dress up costumes. Beyond internet, cable television, and streaming services that can quickly change from entertainment and learning to bombardment.
MOVE IT MOVE IT
When I find myself stuck in my story, I know that it’s time for me to get up and get going. Sometimes it takes a walk around the block or a drive to the beach, but usually a few twists and bends in my home office will do the trick.
MAKE A SHAPE
Limited space? No problem. This activity can stay in one place, great for all the family. Use your body to show opposites. Hard and Soft, Big and Small, Jiggly and Still, High and Low. Whatever you can come up with works. Take turns being the “leader” who claps and says “Hard.” Each person makes their rendition of hard. Then “Soft,” and so on. Combine two qualities, A big, jiggly shape. A high, skinny shape. Fun and encourages kinesthetic awareness.
I’ve practiced Tai Chi for years; it’s an ancient Chinese art of moving meditation. I’m not suggesting corralling a house full of over-sugared, over-active kids and have them learn ancient forms. But a guided “How slow can you move?” game manages two things at once, an outlet for creativity and a calm place for a restless spirit.
Start easy. “How slow can you swing at a baseball?” “Pick up a piece of paper from floor.” Link movements together. “Pick up a ball, it turns into a tree, the tree drops leaves, the leaves fall on the ground, pick them up.” Use a calm slow voice. Move slowly with no corners, no periods, never stopping, just flow. Guaranteed to calm that sugar rush.
CLOSE-UPS (Use smart phones for this.)
One person takes the phone into another room or have everyone close their eyes. Take an extreme close-up of a detail of something in the room. Then take a photo of the entire object or space. Send only the close-ups to others and turn them lose to pair their close up detail with the full actual item. Work individually or as a team.
One that took us all a lengthy search was the close up of a knot on the window blinds cord. The out of doors gives even more opportunity to see the magic in the little things that make up the fabric of our surroundings.
IT’S A WRAP
Gather string, yarn, scraps of paper, fabric, lots of it. Choose some household objects, a shoe, a spatula, a sports trophy, a tape dispenser and wrap it up. Be as neat or as wild as you want. When you’re finished, try to see it, not as it was, but what it is now. What could it become? Decorate it with random buttons and button screws, scrap paper, markers, dust bunnies to make it something or someone new. Which bring us to….
Remember CAT IN THE HAT and all his wild contraptions? Make a contraption with things found around the house or in the yard. It doesn’t have to work, make up something you wished it would do. Maybe an amazing idea will be born. This is a great group project. There are no right or wrong choices.
PIPE CLEANER ART
Pipe cleaners are wonderful examples of creating outside of the box; common things that have grown far from their original purpose, which for pipe cleaners was to clean pipe stems. Make pipe cleaner art. It can be a replica of something or nothing, something with structure or free form. Standing or flat, hanging, rolling. It can be tiny or added to until it stretches across the room. It doesn’t have to have purpose or be recognizable. It just has to be amazing. Feel your creative boundaries crack a little?
As it turns out, exploring the boundaries of our own imagination and creativity when “staying at home” is something we all can benefit from now that we’re getting out again. Take a new look at things. Notice things we haven’t noticed before. How many of shades of blue are in the sky today?
About the Author:
Shelley Noble is a multi published fiction author whose books have been translated into seven languages. She writes women’s fiction as Shelley Noble and is also the author of several amateur sleuth mystery series, written as Shelley Freydont.
A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She also consults on various dance and theatre projects, most recently the world premiere of a full length Tom Sawyer ballet commissioned by Kansas City Ballet.
Shelley is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.
She lives near the New Jersey shore. In her spare time she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses and boardwalks with vintage carousels.
Imagine Summer by Shelly Noble, out now!
As a child, Skylar Mackenzie’s imagination always got her in trouble. Now it’s making her a fortune. She owns Imagine That, a toy and bookstore and creativity center in a small Rhode Island beach town where children, and adults, can use their imagination free from judgment.
Skye is about to embark on her biggest venture yet, a weekend retreat of family exploration. But it begins to unravel when she finds her estranged half-sister Amy on the doorstep. And Amy’s not alone.
She’s brought Skye’s first love, Connor Reid—the boy who broke her heart; the man who could break it again.
Amy claims she wants to make amends—but how can Skye trust her? It was Amy’s lies that drove her from home fifteen years before. Suddenly, Skye’s perfectly imagined summer is in jeopardy. Not to mention her perfectly ordered life. Or her beloved town’s financial future.
With Amy back to her old trouble-making ways, and Connor making Skye wonder what might have been, Skye makes a decision that may cost her everything.
Imagine Summer is a story of discovery, trust, and the courage to dream.