This past Monday, unplanned, I ended up doing one of the coolest, funnest things I've done in a while.
(First, wait--it "funnest" still not a word? Crap, can we change that? "More fun" ruins the pretty little parallel structure.)
I did improv.
I don't know if I want to go into the backstory of how I fell into a room with a bunch of "instructors"--or maybe it was a troupe, or facilitators, or just people with cooler jobs than the average Joe--on a Monday night. Like one of the rules of improve, just accept it. Accept the scene--Debbie is in a room with strangers doing improv--and go with it. (Some might find the backstory interesting, and some day, I may touch upon it.)
(Also, as aside, will auto-correct please accept "improv" as a word and stop tacking an "e" on it?)
We started off doing some crazy little exercise that involved making strange noises and pointing at each other. We moved on to naming states or games or pharmaceuticals while pointing to each other, and somewhere in there, we said our names, which we may or may not have learned. I think my brain was supposed to wake up, although I felt a little like my questionably ADD self repeated things over and over so I don't forget to, I don't know, water a plant or something.
Things moved on from there, to little exercises which were actually building crazy, silly, fun scenes around scenarios. I guess I do this sometimes when I write, or often in my head when I daydream, but when I started doing this out loud, with other crazy, silly, fun people, it felt so much more fun and communal and supported and instant, like people throwing confetti at me while I write a blog piece, instead of that inner voice always going "Hmm...is this okay? Is anyone going to read it? Like it? I'm not so sure." No, almost by definition, improv is fun and right and anything goes, which is such a refreshing change from wondering if something is good enough. Was I any good at improv? I'm not even sure it matters, which is why, yes, I was so awesome at improv. It was kind of exciting to try something new, and I found myself both enjoying other people's "skits" while itching for my turn, pretty please, next.
I've also found myself googling about improv, re-reading Tina Fey's "The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat"*, and reflecting upon how treating life like one big improv exercise might just be free-ing from time to time. In fact, it's actually quite possible most of my parenting has actually been improv. (I'm especially good at improv-ing with stuffed animals, by the way. Perhaps I should lead a class in it?)
While I'm not sure I'll turn into some improv junkie, checking out the local club behind this fun-fest is on my list of things to do. For fun. Which I don't always get enough of.
Right now, I'm kind of like a timeshare salesperson with this stuff: You should try it!
*Tina Fey later notes Improvisation will not reduce belly fat. Sorry, if that's your goal.