June 18th, 2009


For my birthday, my friends Elizabeth and Opal gave me some coloring pages. They seem to understand my actual age.

My life, for the most part, does not. It insists on treating me like a grown-up with responsibilities and chores and Important Things To Do. So it took me a while to begin to color.

Coloring is definitely a child-like activity. It can’t really be described as creative, since someone already did the hard parts: figuring out what to draw and then drawing it. I got to pick the colors, of course. I also got to practice my fine motor skills as I worked to stay within the lines. I even had a typically child-like frustration because the dog ate my first two half-completed pages. I was mad because they were turning out very cool.

Anyway, it’s hard for me as Goody-Two-Shoes to say that I spent hours coloring. Did this help anyone around me? How did this advance my goals? What was I thinking?

Thinking. I did a lot of thinking while coloring. Not the usual hamster wheel of my thoughts, either. The repetitive motion of the pen on the paper gave my monkey mind something to do, so my more meditative thoughts swam closer to the surface. I thought of ideas for stories. I thought of ideas for other pictures. I considered what to do with my coloring sheet after I was done with it (Hello there, Lenten project next year!), besides putting it on the fridge to be spattered with organic substances and eventually discarded.

I ended up much calmer for the experience. I found that coloring for a while was a better break from writing frustration than playing Freecell. It’s just play. Sometimes I need to play, without considering whether it is useful or not.

Wanna come over? Bring your markers…