Lego My Sanity!
OK. I admit it. I play with Lego building blocks. No, it’s more than that… I’m a “Lego-Maniac”. Seriously, I find them fascinating, fun, entertaining, and they have some kind of very child-like primal connection for me. So let’s crack this Lego nut open and see what’s inside, shall we?
The first thing that comes to mind is that playing with Lego is a tactile experience. Unlike many other things in our modern, digital age, these toys are truly “digital”. They exist. They have size, weight, color. While I enjoy recording audio, blogging, and even making videos, none of these is really “REAL”. In contrast to Lego blocks, the things I deal with every day exist in a virtual way. They can easily be copied, edited, deleted. They are ephemeral in comparison to actual objects, and because of that, their value can sometimes be hard to grasp. Not so with the bricks. They are. When you make something with them, it is 100% real.
Sense of Accomplishment
When I complete something using Lego bricks, I find I have a great sense of accomplishment. This relates directly to their tactile “Real” nature (see above). I started with raw materials, followed a set of instructions (or improvised), and ended up with a tangible, 3-D, hold-it-in-my-hands creation.
Play, Creativity, Imagination
Building with Lego bricks often fills me with a sense of wonder. It’s quite amazing how such a simple toy can be assembled into increasingly complex structures. They inspire a sense of play. Far more than just following a diagram, or building an Ikea cabinet, Lego bricks fan the flames of creativity and imagination. What a wonderful way to spend some time!
I’ve also noticed that while I’m constructing I have a razor sharp focus. It’s akin to being “In The Zone”. Time passes in a different manner. I have experienced similar states of focus while programming and acting. When you’re “In The Zone”, you know it, and so do those who view your work afterward. It’s nice to find a simple toy that can get me into that state of mind with so little effort.
Complexity from Simplicity
When you open a Lego set, you get a bunch of simple bricks, and a set of simple instructions. If you’ve never seen them, the instructions are really impressive! Just pictures of bricks, some numbers, and images of the project at each stage. Simple enough for kids to follow, but able to produce some amazingly complex structures. Sometimes when life seems to be overly complex, I think about the Lego sets. Simple bricks. Simple rules. Simple life… It only looks complex.
How Do You Play?
Play, creativity, and inspiration can all spring from the same well. How does play-time fit into your life?
…great article, Joe! There’s always time for creative play…
Your characters are full of play, man!
Great post, Joe! I know what you mean about being in the “zone” with stuff like that. I haven’t played with Legos in quite a while (and my 12-year-old daughter hasn’t expressed much interest in them), but do have fond memories of messing with them as a kid.
My play? Hmmm…that’s a good question. One of my problems now is that I’m still very much in the “I have to spend my time wisely because I’m supporting my family from my freelance work” mindset, so I haven’t allowed myself much time for play. When I do, it tends to be an extension of work; i.e. some form of either acting, voiceover, or programming (I spent several hours last night “playing” with AppleScript for the first time). However, I rekindled my love of photography last weekend while at an SCA event with my wife. It had been a long time since I pulled out my camera and just enjoyed creating interesting pictures, and I had a blast. Perhaps I need to make that my play.
Yeah, definitely… I used to SCA back in the day. Lots of play there. And tons of creativity in photography. You’re in the zone!
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Joe! Falling Waters is my favorite FLW house. Where’s the water fall?
If you click on the picture, you can see a larger version. The water is made from a lot of tiny clear bricks. It runs under the house and along the front…