Finding Neverland Again
I have this vivid memory from when I was around seven. I remember it was late summer because the grass on our front lawn was brown and scratchy. I took my plastic animals outside—there were a lot of them, but I can only remember the male and female lions and their two cubs—and pretended that they were on the African savannah.
You know how sometimes you “wake up” from being engrossed by just living your daily life and, for a few minutes, you are aware of yourself being alive? The reason I have the memory of playing in the grass that day, is because I remember “waking up” from my imaginary games and realizing how much I liked playing with these animals and how nice the sun felt. I realized that I was happy at that moment.
Nostalgia has probably smoothed out the edges for me, but I miss the pure and undistracted enjoyment I got out of playing with my Barbies, and Polly Pockets, and animals as a kid. Now that I’m 85% a grown up, it’s harder to find the time and the right activities to be happily engrossed in something like that.
It is possible though. One of my favorite days of this summer was the Saturday that I got up early and spent the whole day making eight white curtains for the apartment. For me, craft projects are what bring me back to Neverland. I like taking raw materials and figuring out how I can fit them together and turn them into something useful.
Photography is what does it for Sam. For the past 3 years, Sam has been working on her “alphabet project,” which is a collection of photographs with each picture representing a letter. A is for Alice in Wonderland (her favorite book), J is for joy ride, and N is for nerd, etc. It takes Sam a couple of weeks (or sometimes longer) to prepare for just one photo shoot, but once it’s finally time take the picture, it feels like a really big deal.
The cool thing about the alphabet project is that since all of our friends have helped out with or been in a picture, we all feel attachment to it. Everyone gets excited when a new picture is finished, and—this going to sound cheesy—but some of the photos themselves can take you to this sort of magical childhood place.
Last night, Sam had seven of us dressed up in goofy eighties clothes for our awkward family photo shoot. In reality, we were a bunch of twenty year-olds playing dress up on a Thursday night, but we got so into it that the fun didn’t break up until Sam’s camera battery died around ten.
It’s usually not hard to get in touch with the activities that take you to into the Neverland mind set, it just takes a little bit of thinking to realize what still makes you that content. So, Tea&Beer readers, what is your project for the weekend? Are you starting something new, or is it a project you’ve been working on for years? Please comment and let us know!
Preview for Tuesday: How to have an ingenious idea… and hang onto it.
Want to see more of Sam’s alphabet photos? Visit her Flikr page!