Jacob Lawrence, Games -- Street Carnival (1999)
October 14, 2002:
Let's play a game.
What I mean is: follow a protocol which strictly structures our interactions
according to agreed-on rules.
Game: This is our first meeting. We have no prior history.
We're introduced as, say, friends of a mutual friend. "I've heard a lot of good things
about you from X."
Rules: This is a new beginning. There will be no references to any interaction
before the start date of the game. We'll agree to a certain number and type of interaction in
each time period, say, three emails, a phone call, and a lunch each week. Lastly we'll agree to
play for a certain duration, say, three months. Within these boundaries we'll simply be ourselves,
and we'll look at each other with the most unbiased eyes we can manage.
On the surface this may seem loopy, but, there's truth to it. We can't know what people
we are now. By acknowledging that fact we strip the past of some of its power. We'll eliminate
all of its power if we succeed in forming a new and meaningful friendship.
-------- Analysis --------
uses games in a similar way in her practice. Here are some excerpts from her
"Re-inventing Relationship as a Game":
What if a relationship were no more, and no less, than what occurs in the process and space of two
or more people relating? What if we could make it up however we want? What if, instead of trying to
fit ourselves to a pre-existing shape, we designed a container exactly to the
specifications of the people who would inhabit it? Why not create a relationship as a
"game" instead of playing out the usual drama?
A game is something that is played on a defined field. It has boundaries, limits, and measures for
success (number of times around the bases, number of strokes to get the ball in the hole, etc.). It
has agreed upon rules and a time limit or some way of determining that it is over, and time for a
I am Game if you are.
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© 2002-2013 Mark Phillips.
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This writing is fiction. Please don't confuse it with reality.