William Steig’s Question as conversation starter: What Would You Rather Be? The “What If?” game.
In today's New York Times Connections section, Edward Rothstein writes a marvelous article: "Worlds Outfoxed by a Wily Inner Child" about the current exhibiton at the Jewish Museum (later to appear in San Francisco) titled “From The New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig."
The catalog tells the story of from the artist’s daughter of a game her father used to play with her: “What would you rather be?”
Would you rather be a tree (sturdy, long-lived, a home for birds) or a flower (a short but exciting life, carried in weddings, pressed into books by princesses)?
What would you rather be “a knee or an elbow?” Or more adventurously: “A pinch of pus or a pile of puke? A scab or a wart?”
This is "a great way to teach children of all ages to weigh the disadvantages or advantages" of different states of being and also to empathically identify with these different states.
It's also a great game to school a writer's imagination, as Steig's career as New Yorker cartoonist, illustrator, and children's books (begun at 60 and going on almost to his death at 95 in 2003).
Of course, what might happen if you really got your wish? What if you really did have the power to transform yourself into a stone or a doorknob? It's the What If? game.
So, Dear Readers.....What If? What would you rather be? And, what might happen if you really got your wish?
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