She Writes Press (2016)
Reviewed By Susan Violante for Reader Views (12/16)
“The Art of Play” by Joan Stanford reflects the author’s journey within as she consumes her own reality through creative play. This is basically journaling on steroids. Her own experience of self is produced not just through essays or poetry; it is experienced through imagery with her art. Yet the sharing doesn’t stop there. Following each poem-graphic combination the author not only shares the process, she also explains her playtime. The book design is exquisite and filled with color, which makes this book perfect as a coffee table conversation piece.
I have seen a few books, which utilize art as a healing tool this year, and am beginning to believe, this will be the journaling of the future. Stanford did an amazing job making this one personal yet welcoming to the ‘non-artistic readers’ through her warming and inspiring candidness as she opens her heart and unique vision of life and the visual world. I felt so welcome to experiment that I actually played with her book by reading it in order first, and then reading her process notes before the poem. Doing so, I was surprised how the same poem gave me a different experience each time. I did this with the “Best Poem,” among others. But my favorite poem was “Seeing.” I also loved how Stanford created a ‘before and after’ chart to visualize what this type of creative playful journal has done for her.
Overall, I found “The Art of Play” by Joan Stanford to be inspiring and enlightening, but also entertaining and relaxing. It is truly a five star experience for any audience. I will definitely work some of the concepts of this new journaling trend into my own process going forward!