Steamboat author gives us 'Permission to Play'

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— Listen to Ray Bradbury:

"If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake up early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape."

In other words, if you're bored, if you're uninspired, it's your own fault.

Local author Jill Murphy Long has 1001 answers for every one of the 1001 excuses women come up with not to be alive.

In her latest book, "Permission to Play" she gives women advice on how to stimulate their minds and create time to get outdoors and play every day.

Releasing the book in Steam-boat Springs, where women spend their lunch hour on mountain bikes, may seem like preaching to the choir -- but Steamboat is not like the rest of the world.

Long moved to Steamboat two years ago from Los Angeles because she wanted to be surrounded by more active women. "I'm not a gym rat," she said.

For years, she owned an advertising agency in L.A. When her house burned to the ground, she watched everything she had accumulated over 18 years disappear.

It gave her an uncluttered chance to examine her life.

"I realized that I was not adding to the world by getting people to consume more," Long said. She decided to become a writer.

A new start in Steamboat gave her time to research on the Internet and in the library for her series of self-help books for women.

The first book was called "Permission to Nap," wherein she explained to women that they would be happier and healthier if only they would set aside a short period of time each day for relaxation.

The napping book, in its third printing, sold every copy bookstores put on the shelves.

Now touring with her second book, Long hopes for similar success from "Permission to Play."

She interviewed 200 women about how they played.

"I talked to athletes and artists, real women," she said. She mixed the interviews with medical facts about the benefits of play, quotes from famous artists and athletes and recipes for energizing teas.

"But this is not a medical book and it's not a diet book," she said. "We live so much of our mind in our heads. We have to pay attention to our bodies, too."

The book is full of ideas for ways to play -- cycling, swimming, going to the batting cage or the driving range.

Women use two excuses not to play, Long said. First, they say they are too busy. Second, they say they are too old.

"Women are always saying that they are too busy," she said. "But it relieves so much stress just to get out of the office.

"People say that they will play when they retire or they will play tomorrow. There may not be a tomorrow."

Long's advice is to pack a play bag. Her first book advised women to take 15-minute naps. This book gives the same advice with play.

Long visited All That Jazz and asked music store owner Joe Kboudi to help her make a list of upbeat music for the book.

With "Permission to Play" on shelves, Long is under contract for her next book, "Permission to Party." She plans to follow that with "Permission to Age."

"When I lived in Southern California, you didn't tell anyone your age. I love that it's not like that in this town. Women here are out embracing life. Women in California are running from it -- getting (breast implants) and injecting Botox into their faces."

While writing "Permission to Age," Long hopes to learn how other women deal with aging.

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