Suspend

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Has anyone else played thisĀ  game: SUSPEND? Maybe, like us, you received it as a gift for the holidays? At our house, it has been a hit, for big and little kids. Here’s how Melissa & Doug describes it on their web site:

“Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. Can you add all your game pieces without making it fall? This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands.”

For the past few weeks, the kids and I have found time at some point during the day to come together and play Suspend together. We take turns hanging our wire pieces, holding our breaths as we wait to see if the whole sculpture will topple over with each new addition. Each creation is unique. Even if you try, you can’t create the same sculpture twice. There are so many variables, and you never know what’s going to happen as you add a new piece. It occurred to me recently, as I was playing with my son, how similar this process is to writing – or making art in general. We sit down each day and try to add on to a “sculpture” – a work of art – that we’re creating. Each new part affects the whole; sometimes, a tiny variant could cause the whhole creation to topple, and sometimes we can be surprised by the intricacies of balance created by so many different parts. Here’s ours from yesterday:

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Here are a few things we’ve learned:

  • Start big: the orange pieces are the largest, and it’s best to begin with those, and grow smaller as you move on.
  • Balance is key: if you add something to one side, the next person needs to even things out.
  • Even when you think the sculpture couldn’t take any more pieces, it is sturdier than you think.
  • Sure, there are some fly-away pieces that look like they don’t belong, but each serves a purpose.
  • Sometimes the symmetry is inexplicable; there are days that we can’t get past five pieces, no matter what we try. There doesn’t seem to be much logic past balance.
  • A few of the games have led to arguing, shouting, blaming, frustration
  • The structure is broken down a lot faster than it takes to create.
  • The end result is messy, complicated, and hard to describe.
  • Like most things in life, sometimes we need a break. We need to step away from something that has been working, and for an inexplicable reason, has stopped working – to gain some perspective.
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