Coffee Shop Chronicles: Playing with Toys


Bear, DE

April 2006

I expected one thing from this morning’s workshop hosted by the University of DE, entitled, “Reconnect with Your Creativity”, but took away something completely different.

I want toys, now!

That’s what the first workshop session was: toys. Slinky, Lego, twisty ties, magnetic 3D designs, balls, stretchy toys, flip frogs…all that stuff that we played with as kids. We were each given a secret task. It turned out that everyone had the same secret task: draw a flower. I thought of my college Roomie and her flowers and drew as she always did: one stem, two leaves, five petals and a cloud in the background.

There were only pink and green highlighters on the table. No other colors? I wondered. Well, these will do.

The instructor watched us a bit. “Why didn’t you ask for other colors?” she commented. “Why did everyone draw the stem green?”

“How often do we not ask for help at work? How often do we do things because ‘that’s the way they’ve always been done’?”

Woah. Deep thoughts. Why didn’t I ask? I thought about it, almost did. But didn’t. I was already being chatty. I want to be that energetic “Wow” person. What held me back?

That’s a rhetorical question. I think.

Ashley made me a thick, yummy Mocha Light Frappuccino just now. She gave me the leftovers in a separate cup. That’s on my left and a half-eaten slice of reduced-fat coffee cake is in front of me. I’m at the corner table with the sun full on my back. I’m so warm, so comfy.

I wonder as I look around how many people would benefit from this type of this. The playing, I mean, not the food. Or maybe both, the indulgence of it all.

“Why didn’t you play with the toys?” she asked us. “What held you back? Why are you or why are you not creative?”

How am I creative? I write. I journal. They’re the same things and yet they’re separate. I draw or sketch on my journal pages. I scrapbook, a little bit.

How can you coax creativity out of others? That’s a really good question. I write letters, so maybe my friends will write me letters back. There’s something personal and imaginative putting pen to paper, even if you just write about the weather like Dad always did. Playing board games, perhaps? I don’t have many local friends, but I do have my coworkers.

Everything relates back to my job. Do those same reasons hold you back at work? Why don’t you ask questions?

We explored office atmosphere. Imagine the office you want. How do you get there? Provide toys at staff meetings. Create “our” traditions or ways of doing things, not “mine” or “yours.”

I shared this with my boss. I was so hyped up over this!  He seemed to get it, some of what he has been saying all along. Think new aspects for what he has said in the past.

When is a good time to reinvent myself? Do I need to? I will be that bubbly person I see myself as, the same one my friend, Tina, sees in me. The chatty person Dad taught me to be. In my mind’s eye, I see me chatting at new scrapbook stores. I see mentioning at a crop, “Who wants to do lunch with me?”  I can invite other Penn State alums over the house for company. I see me being the fun person in the room. Maybe I’m not ‘The One’ everyone flocks to at a party, but still.

Do these people here see that? The baristas do. Natalie and I have a chat. “Give us your email,” she says, “so we can stay in touch.”  Yes!  They do emails with previous employees when they leave.

Liz beside him says, “Well, you’re like an employee.”

So…I imagine what I want to be and be it.

Could it be that simple?


    • Sue Remisiewicz on November 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm
    • Reply

    Hmmm… I wonder what toys I can dig up to inspire me.

    1. I bet you can find some good ones, Sue

    • Kelly Bixby on October 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm
    • Reply

    Inspiring message, Diana. I’m dreaming big!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.