by Colleen Maynard
The game that best encapsulates our natural knack for musicals is “Brocc-oh-lee.” Player 1 breaks the ice by pronouncing a word in a patternous singing voice, drawing out or changing emphasis on any given conjunction. For example, “BRACK-oooo-lee!” or “Brock-oh-lye!” repeated until the word does not have a beginning or end (“Brock-oh-lyebrock-oh-lyebrock-oh-lye”). Player 2 follows, throwing another word into the mix with varying tone and meter (i.e. “Hospit-AL!”). If no one else has yet supplied this tour de force Player 3 will squawk something resembling an alarm. (“BUTTS!” One beat, two beat. “BUTTS!”) Alternately, they might drag out a single-syllable word into a slide-whistle crescendo (“Buuuuuhhhtss! Buuuuuhhhtss!”). Once Player 3 picks up, Player 1 starts the round over with a new word and the round continues with increasing levels of obnoxious creativity. As players become less self-conscious, competition for absurdity slips into nihilistic sparring. When the scent of sausage and waffles reaches the attic bedroom, players bolt downstairs, suddenly starving.
I envision strong fictional girls that queered and challenged the status-quo, from Nancy Drew to Pippi Longstocking, from Scout (of To Kill a Mockingbird) to Lex Murphy (of Jurassic Park). I think of the tiny yet fiercely creative, wildly stubborn first-graders I’ve learned from while teaching art classes. I return to those rituals we held ourselves accountable to, disguised as children's games.
Colleen Maynard is a dual writer and visual artist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sharkpack Poetry Review, NANO Fiction, and Monkeybicycle. She currently exhibits in the 2016 Drawing Biennial at the Appleton Museum of Art. Maynard graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and received training in Botanical Illustration at Illinois Natural History Survey. You can spy on her at www.colleenmaynard.com.