Danny Tyree, 7/22/2015 [Archive]

Are Adult Coloring Books Right For You?

Tyrades!By Danny Tyree

"Sharpen 'em if you got 'em."

Once upon a time, people looked upon permission to partake of nicotine as a golden opportunity to relax. Now millions fight stress in a more colorful way.

According to the July 12 "Parade" magazine, coloring books for adults have gone mainstream — with grown-ups merrily embellishing books of paisleys, botanicals, animals, enchanted forests, celebrities, decorative fans and more.

There are million sellers among the more than 150 books available. (That doesn't count the 10-volume set that failed miserably in its attempt to calm down Donald Trump's hair.)

When I was a little kid, both my mother and paternal grandmother benefitted from the paint-by-numbers craze.The world is even more nerve-racking now, so I can understand why so many folks are eager to relax with this childhood-rooted pursuit.

My friend Dinsdale, however, tends to overanalyze everything and countered all my praise.

I told Dinsdale that being immersed in the world of coloring lets people travel back to a simpler time of life. ("Yeah, back when they imagined hypodermic needles to be 10 feet long, the monsters under the bed civilly debated whether youngsters taste better with mustard or mayo and their pet dog abruptly decided to retire to the country after the kid heard screeching tires and a thump outside the house. Good times.")

Looking back at the "Parade" article, I remarked that the opportunity for creativity makes many fans feel like they're a co-creator with the designer of the coloring book. ("Yeah, except that they're the collaborator who doesn't get the money, the fan mail or the podcast interviews. Sounds like the makings for the breakup of a rock band.You know, 'It used to be about the turquoise, man!'")

I thought surely Dinsdale couldn't argue with the value of coloring as a form of therapy or meditation. ("Right — that's why you always see the Dalai Lama traveling the globe promoting peace, harmony and the chance for Crayola to make a boatload of money.")

I mentioned that enthusiasts recommend coloring above other leisure activities because it offers complete absorption, engaging both hemispheres of the brain.("Won't that be confusing? When it's winter in one hemisphere, won't it be summer in the other one?") No one ever said Dinsdale was the sharpest crayon in the 64-pack.

I cited the feeling of accomplishment that colorists get from bringing something beautiful into the world. ("Yeah, but they get carried away with their accomplishments, just like the over-achieving garden-sharing neighbors. It's all 'Here come the Lawsons with more geometric designs for the refrigerator door! Quick — start firing the Druckers' excess zucchini at them!'")

Coloring is largely a solitary hobby, but many practitioners display their work via social media or join groups that are described as being like old-timey quilting bees. ("Quilting bees were a distraction from delivering your 14th child or hitching up the mule and plowing the South 40. These modern gatherings are a distraction from, I don't know, the seven bazillion OTHER things you could be doing in 20-bleepin'-15!")

I hope Dinsdale won't object if I invite my readers to explore the world of adult coloring and to send coloring books as gifts to the appropriate friends.

"Just don't be surprised if they ignore the coloring book and play with the empty box!"

*Sigh* Another coloring book, please. I just ripped that one in half.

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© 2015 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page "Tyree's Tyrades". Danny's' weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.



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