COFFEE SHOP TALK⎯Playing is Playing

I am a word person, definitely not crafty. The most I can do is paint birdhouses and feeders or refinish a piece of furniture with fusion paint. But I find myself in a mask with five other women, spaced over six feet a part in The Georgina Art Centre painting Christmas ornaments. It’s terrifying for me, as it involves not getting paint on the floor. Not only that, everyone seems to know that the floral foam brick stuck in the aluminum pan is not a gift for registering for the class. I thought it was and removed it. Once the teacher sticks it back in my pan, she explains the project: Acrylic Pouring. 

Soon we are smearing, drizzling, plopping acrylic paint on balls and wooden decorations. It all seems intimidating until I realize I play with words. I can play with paint – playing is playing. From play comes skill and I’m right. Turns out, crafting is not different from writing. At first you may not understand what you’re doing, make a mess, then you learn to play and it works out. Except for the paint on my coat, hanging at the back of my chair. Paint on my purse, sitting on another chair away from me. Paint on my glasses. Paint on my fingernails – how did that happen with gloves on? Paint in my hair. And of course, paint on the floor. 

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Sheila Horne graduated from George Brown’s Creative Writing Program and is the author of three novels: Sunshine Girls, Paper Sun, and Place in the Sun. She is also the co-author of Temple of Light, a book of poems inspired by the Sharon Temple. Her poems and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies. To read more, visit, author or

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