Writer Confessions: 66 Days of Play - Embracing the Mervalue of Art

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Writer Confessions: 66 Days of Play, Week 4: Embracing the Mervalue of Art

Hi Merworld friends. Week 4 of 66 Days of Play was a fun blast from the past. After a very long break (ahem – years), I finally broke out the old ballroom dancing shoes and went to a West Coast Swing class. Those of you who know me well, know that I had a stint in my life where I taught beginner ballroom dancing. At the time, I wasn’t that into WCS. However, I’ve recently been reintroduced to how the style is growing in popularity due to its versatile style and chill vibe.

Music and dance have always been a key interest of mine. Hence why it was a no brainer to incorporate these themes into my YA novel series, Ice Floe. Early in the first novel, readers learn that Art is one of the Mervalues in Glacia’s world. One of the non-negotiable principles upon which the Merworld society is built. Rather than medicine, finance, and technology being the highest-paid, most prestigious careers, artistic pursuits are the norm. Art is infused in the school system where even traditionally left-brained activities have an artistic bent. Architecture is viewed as livable sculpture. Geology is for interior design and jewelry making. And on goes the list to help instill the Mervalue of Art from an early age.

By contrast, Glacia, the main character in Ice Floe, is not artistic. She prefers sports and critical thinking. She’d much rather throw a sculpture tool at a target than use it to make pottery. I wrote this divergence intentionally. Created an artistic world where the analytical protagonist feels like the odd-girl-out in an attempt to flip current U.S. society on its head. My goal was not to disparage one mindset over the next. Truthfully, we need all types of thinkers for a balanced community. My hope was simply to mirror what it can feel like in real life, when you prefer the creative, but constantly feel pressure to do something more “practical.”

So we come full circle because, as we know, playtime is the exact opposite of practical. Play is the act of doing something solely for pleasure and as such…let art reign supreme. As one who is guilty of riding the practicality train, revisiting ballroom dancing is just the reminder I needed to embrace the Art Mervalue myself.

Here’s a snapshot of my artsy pastimes for this week:

Day 22: Crowed at the top of my lungs. Also known as singing Broadway show tunes in my home office to questionable karaoke backup music found on youtube.

Day 23: Dusted off my ballroom dancing shoes and went to a West Coast Swing class for the first time in years. I love how fans of this dance are pushing it to be less pretentious than some traditional ballroom dances. You can do WCS to most popular music, so I’m all for the regular-clothes-street-shoes movement of this fun style.

Day 24: Rejuvenated my inner mermaid with one of life’s best luxuries – an Epsom salt bath. Grateful to live in an area where clean water is abundant.

Day 25: Wrote about mermaids. Read about mermaids. Happy weekend.

Day 26: Finished reading Of Poseidon, the first novel in a mercreature-focused series by Anna Banks. My thoughts on the book can be found here.

Day 27: Created online designs for social media art. So much fun and free creative software out there now.

Day 28: Stared at the wall and daydreamed…A LOT. That’s playing too, right?

That’s all for now. Until next time, Merworld. You flipping rock!