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Deep Play

Mindy Lu's picture

Deep Play


  Play is an activity enjoyed for its own sake, while deep play is the ecstatic form of play, which is a fascinating hallmark of being human. (Ackerman) With my own experience, I state the definition of deep play as a kind of play that not only bring fun, but also express something deep inside the players.


  During most of my playtime, I just have fun—search the Internet, play games or do some sports without think deeply and express anything from my heart. However, when I played hide-and-seek, the common game which seems may not be consider as a deep play, I thought much more than the game itself and did a deep play.


  “Five, four, three, two, one …… I am coming!”

   I still remember that it was my first time to play hide-and –seek with my cousin, a five-years-old boy called Sam. I was a seeker and he was a hider.

  Actually, it was extremely easy for me to find him—he was hidden under the quilt and his back was like a little hill on the bed. Thus, I walked to the bed directly and opened the quilt quickly without any hesitation. I felt proud to be “clever” to find him while he looked a little bit embarrassed and upset. Looking at his bright eyes with depressiveness, I suddenly realized that I had made a mistake. I though of the days my parents played hide-and-seek with me when I was as young as my cousin at that time—


  I even left my slippers on the floor in front of the clothespress in which I hided. However, my parents never exposed me directly like I did to my cousin. Instead, they acted like that my technique of hiding was wise enough to avoid their carefully searching. More often than not, they talked to each other loudly to make sure that I could hear clearly: “Where is she? I have no idea at all!”,“She is quite a talent hider!”. Every time I heard such words, I could not control myself and laughed out loud. Even though, my parents would never “find” me until I jumped out by myself.


  Stopped recalling my memory of childhood, I noticed that Sam had been already not willing to play this game with me. That moment, I began to understand that the game I played was not as simple as it looked like. Different way to play could lead to different result and if I did not care about to be a winner, I could achieve more, such as I could make my cousin happy and set up his confidence.


  Thus, I went to him and conjured him to play one more time by giving him a lollipop, and he accepted. This time, he hided behind the curtain and, as usual, I saw his feet at once. Nevertheless, I did not point it out immediately, but behaved like my parents did before.

  “Where is him? I cannot find him! That is impossible!” I shout aloud.

  Faintly, I heard his laughter but ignored.

  “How smart he is! I think I have to give up…” I kept acting and felt much more proud than the last time, and that was my first time to felt happier to be a loser than when I was I winner.

  “Aha! I am here!” Finally, Sam jumped out of the curtain. He looked so excided and cheerful, just like I had been when my parents played with me before.


  This experience of “deep play” influents me a lot. As the definition I stated in the first paragraph, I not only had fun but also expressed my love to my cousin inside my heart when I played with him. Actually, deep play can also be in critical writing, and the most obvious difference between deep play writing and other writing is that deep play writing express something deep inside the authors, which means that in deep play writing, authors focus on what they think when things happen instead of just telling the whole story.

  In my essay about my critical play, I just talk about the whole process about my interview in Chinatown without detailed description of what I thought and what I felt at that time. With the technique of deep play writing, I can rewrite the first paragraph of that essay in this way—

  “When I stood beside the street of Chinatown, everything was similar to China, which gave me a misleading signal that I had come back to my homeland. Why the residents here choose to stay in Philadelphia? If they want to live in the USA, why they decide to live in such a Chinese-style place? Questions comes to me, and I was on my way to search the answer.”


Work Sites

Ackerman, Diane, Chapter One. Deep Play. New York: Random House, 1999.