As we’ve chronicled over the years, West Seattle is rich in writing talent. The latest local author to publish a book invites you to its launch party in The Junction Wednesday night.
Admiral resident Shepherd Siegel, Ph.D., says his book “Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture” has been a work in progress for decades. He began journaling in his teen years, keeping notes of things he’d seen in books, intuitive notions, and other observations. Eventually that led to the central theme of his book, the notion that all humans need to be in touch with their own playfulness – that we can create a happier and more peaceful existence by rediscovering in ourselves the sense of playfulness we had as children.
Kirkus Reviews describes “Disruptive Play” as “philosophically provocative and original.” Throughout the book, the author makes the case for people rediscovering a sense of play by discovering the tricksters in our midst, those playful spirits who try to keep the powerful off-balance, not for the sake of gaining power, but to, as Dr. Siegel puts it, find a sense of love and wonder in the world. His examples stretch back into ancient times, but include contemporary examples from Robin Williams to Bugs Bunny. The trickster, he says, fools the powerful into seeing that their seriousness serves no one. Out of that example, he thinks people can find a way to discover a non-competitive cooperative play that can enrich their lives. Play, Siegel notes, is common to all species, yet somehow humans manage to set it aside as they become older.
“Disruptive Play” puts up a timeline across human history that shows how people have been socialized into putting aside a childlike sense of play in order to adopt more adult roles. The timeline also puts forth an alternate view showing artists and entertainers, especially musicians, who have set aside the roles foisted onto them and have become the tricksters of their various artistic forms.
Siegel has lived in West Seattle for more than 25 years (and, disclosure, your WSB co-publishers have known him since we were all new arrivals in the early ’90s). From 1996-2012, he worked at Seattle Public Schools headquarters as manager of the district’s Career and Technical Education program. His launch party for “Disruptive Play” starts at 6 pm Wednesday (September 26th) at ArtsWest in The Junction (4711 California SW).
Are you a West Seattle author with a book on the way? Let us know so we can let your neighbors know too!