Great expectations

Great ExpectationsAm reading ‘Trying to save Piggy Sneed’  by one of my favourite authors: John Irving. He discusses – amongst other things – ‘Great Expectations’ by Dickens. It is the part in which he describes the way Dickens deals with emotions that I made me pause.

Quote [page 172 (my translation, I’m reading the book in Dutch):” The modern reader judges that a writer, where he risks being sentimental, is in the wrong in advance.  But it would be cowardly if a writer were to be so afraid of the sentimental that he steers away from sentiments altogether. It is typical – and forgivable – that upcoming writers try not to be half-baked  by way of  refusing to write about people, or by refusing to let their characters have extreme emotions. A short story about a four-course meal, written from the viewpoint of the fork, will never be sentimental; but it will not move us much, either. ”

A little earlier on the page: “Many modern readers, especially those called ‘erudite’, distrust all unrestrained surrender to emotions“.

Now for ‘reader’ substitute ‘viewer’ and for ‘writer’ read ‘artist’. Doing so made me unquiet, having recently expressed a preference for the intellect over the emotions (check here). Then again – I’m not aiming to move people, but to make them think. Isn’t that a worthwile pursuit, too?

My games do have an emotional dimension – feeling playful, young again, victorious, silly. But the materials I use are neutral, the visual language is simple (circles, squares, lines). Even my colours are rather introvert. Any emotion the game creates is of the player’s own making.

Maybe I should try to find materials that evoke or carry emotion? Or maybe not. Anyway, it might be interesting to study the way that playing (make-believe play) can regulate emotion.

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