And Now for Something Completely Different

My apologies to Monty Python for stealing borrowing their catchphrase to use as a title for this post. My gratitude also goes to Monty Python, for creating such hilarious comedy – I just procrastinated for 20 wonderful minutes watching online clips, including one of my favorite scenes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend, because I did. I hit two big milestones at the gym, and kept busy otherwise… but I’m going to get into all that tomorrow. Today, I’m introducing a new feature to Keep It Up, David!

This is kinda sorta completely random, but I have a strange little talent that’s has nothing to do with anything else that I blog about. Lately, though, this talent has really come in handy. About a week ago, I mentioned in a post that I sometimes draw as a mental distraction. There are times when I’m relaxing or watching TV, and all I seem to think about is snacking. It happens most frequently at night – I’ve had a good dinner, and I’m not actually hungry, but I get an overwhelming desire to keep eating, and I start fixating on the food I have in the house. Sometimes I’ll give in, and rustle up some fruit or carrot sticks, but sometimes I try to fight it. And one of the best tools I have in my arsenal is a pencil.

My parents will vouch that once I learned how to use a pencil, I was hooked. A lot of my doodling, even at a young age, was design-based: creating floor plans for houses, designing golf courses and shopping malls, things like that. But I also developed a keen ability to create puzzles. My grandfather taught me how to create word searches when I was about 6 years old, and I can still make a mean word search to this day, ones on par with Wonderword, my favorite word search puzzle out there.

I’m don’t remember when my fascination with mazes began, but it was also early on, and I became quite good at solving them, and then drawing them. I’ve been able to draw them for as long as I can remember (I used to submit them to be included in my elementary school newsletter), and lately I’ve been drawing them a lot. My nephews are now old enough to solve mazes (they’re 5, 6, and 7), so for the past two Christmases, I’ve made maze books for them – a collection of mazes that I bind together at an office supply store.

Mazes are fun for me to draw. I like brainstorming and creating the theme or look of the maze, and keeping track of the dead ends and correct path is a nifty little challenge. The ability to solve a maze is important – all of my mazes have exactly one path from start to finish.

Lately, whenever I’ve needed to distract my own brain from a food fixation, I’ve drawn a maze. And since they’re no fun for me to solve, I’m gonna turn my own little form of therapy into a blog feature, and give YOU the opportunity to solve them! Are you ready?

To download a PDF of Maze #1, CLICK HERE. Here’s what you’ll be downloading:

This maze is the result of my playing around with concentric circles. The directions are simple: CONNECT THE TWO STARS. There is only one path between them. The maze is hand-drawn, by me, using a black pen and a Sharpie, and the original is on a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

This is the first PDF I’ve posted on this blog, so please let me know if there are issues. I chose the PDF format so you could easily download and print it. I did a trial run, and I was able to print it without a problem, so hopefully you’ll be able to as well.

Good luck and have fun!



9 Responses to And Now for Something Completely Different

  1. Cindy says:

    How fun!! I printed it out fine and am going to run copies for my 4th grade students. They will love it!! You really do have a talent.

  2. Mom says:

    I’m telling ya, there’s a maze book in your future!!

  3. gretchen says:

    Awesome maze!
    This is not completely random at all. As you mention, one of the best ways to keep your mind off food is to create a distraction for yourself. In fact, if you have ever heard of the Mischel experiment with the little kids and the marshmallows, you will know that those kids who could resist the longest were successful because they did something else while waiting! This was something Jonah Lehrer wrote about in one of his recent blog posts in case anyone is interested:
    I like to think it helps me practice willpower now and then. I now have a list of about 20 “fun things” I do when I feel the urge to snack while knowing that I am really not hungry.

    I am a loyal fan of yours! Keep it up and keep inspiring the rest of us!

  4. Jeff S. says:

    Very cool maze! I’ve just printed it out so I can work on it with my niece tonight.

  5. very cool, my friend.

    I was always a drawer as well. I use to design goalie gear (hockey, it’s a Canadian thing). I then got in to painting and from there became a graphic designer. It’s been YEARS since I’ve actually picked up a pencil to draw, but something I think about sometimes.

  6. Maren says:

    I’m going to save this in my teaching resource folder, and use it as an activity for the 5th grade I am in currently – hope that’s okay. 🙂

  7. Adam B says:

    EVIL maze!

  8. Sarah says:

    That scene is hilarlious

  9. Alix Stayton says:

    You are always surprising me with new and amazing talents. I love mazes (mostly the kind you walk in). And I like the idea of having a particular thing to indulge myself in that I like to do instead of eating. Gretchen, the idea of the list is great (because if you like mazes, I imagine you also like lists!).

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