Stop Motion

21st century kids missed out. They will not have experienced the infancy of television and motion pictures. I suppose every generation “misses out” at some level. I did not experience first flight, my children, if I had any, would know nothing of being one of the first households to have a color television.

It is not really important, in a way, yet it is immeasurably important. These experiences shape our sense of wonder. More than this, they prompt us to recognize human ingenuity and to recognize it in ourselves as well. An idea, we realize,  is always worth exploring. And most of us understand that we must keep in mind not to harm others in the process.

Yes, too much television is not good. We have to go outside and play, and also choose healthier snacks while we stare at the screen. Life is a balancing act, and this includes allowing room for creative expression.

The creative children’s television shows I was privileged to know has a child had a profound impact on me. I loved stop motion animation. Think about this for a moment: We knew we could convey human movement and interaction through fast, subsequent images captured as we moved, but it took wonderful and free-flowing insight to realize that the same method could animate still objects. And to make stories out of these… wow! Story telling was forever transformed.

The creative mind works that way. One idea sparks the next as though it had lifted a rock and discovered an entire world, previously unseen and unknown. Today’s complex computer animation was a huge stretch of the imagination. There must be a sixth or seventh sense in us, like a pilot light, just waiting for a switch to be turned on.

For some reason, this is what crosses my mind every time I make a new batch of Messenger Dolls. And also that life itself is a stop motion animation. We move forward and take steps back; we become absorbed in projects and stop short in moments of doubt; we move, we rest, we hesitate, but the story gets told one moment at a time.

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