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Making Joy, Vitality, Originality & Connection a Way of Life

By Marcia Singer, MSW, CHT
Represented by Leigh Publishing
Contact: Pamela Leigh


About the Book
Manuscript Specifications
About the Author
About the Market
About the Competition
Promotional Opportunities & Spin-Offs


THE TAO OF PLAY: Making Joy, Vitality, Originality, and Connection a Way of Life is an original and user-friendly book that empowers readers to engage in day-to-day life with the profound sense of well being that playing brings. It breaks new ground in recognizing that playfulness is necessary for health, creative juice, trustworthy relationships and happiness, and it demonstrates that with conscious intention, play can become a gentle and powerful path to self-realization. The proposed book follows a successful Learning Annex course and manual by the same name. Both book and course build upon Marcia Singer's 18 years of facilitating improvisational play and recovery workshops.

THE TAO OF PLAY (TOP) defines and refines our attitudes, understandings, habits, and practices; it shows that play is less about a given activity than the state of mind, body, and heart we bring to it. It's the language we naturally speak when we feel safe-whether rearranging a closet, making love, writing a song, or watching clouds shapeshifting in the sky. Play becomes, then, a celebration of Being, and, therefore, "Tao," a way to experience the sacred in everyday life and to come into harmony and balance.

From ancient to modern times, the wisest among us extol the virtues of unselfconscious play. Plato, Lao Tsu, Kahlil Gibran, and Jesus counseled us to emulate the spontaneity, wonder, invention, trust, and friendship of youngsters deep at play. Today quantum scientists, doctors, artists, and business executives urge us to make time for play: Deepak Chopra, Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, Joseph Chilton Pearce, Clarissa Pinokla Estes, Julia Cameron, Dr. Patch Adams, naturalist Diane Ackerman, corporate consultant Neil Fiore-even Oprah-all sing the praises of wholehearted, free self-expression.

A "Tao of play" would seem to be exactly what our often "edgy" lives need; there's no stress, conflict, angst, or animosity with noncompetitive play. So why don't we all play more often? Like breathing, the answer is invisibly right under our noses. While breathing deeply and playing fearlessly are the most natural things in the world, our deeply rooted, unconscious, hurtful, and stressful habits get in the way. Expert opinion is that by the age of six, most of us have forgotten how.

THE TAO OF PLAY addresses the challenge on all fronts, reminding us what authentic play is and how to be a captivating playmate. You'll learn how simple and important it is to make time in your life to play; even better, to infuse play potentially into any activity, anywhere, anytime, making play a natural way of life, and, ultimately, playing your way to spiritual fulfillment.

In THE TAO OF PLAY, Discover the FUNdamentals, including:

-- How you can apply the principles of play to anything you do

-- How to make playing your spiritual, artistic, health, and social practice

-- Why play is the best natural stress buster around

-- Techniques to enjoy the natural play you engaged in as a child

-- Ways to revel in the simple, freeform creative self-expression of play

-- How play brings benefits like vital energy, confidence, self-esteem, originality, inspiration, and wonderful connections

-- Timeless teachings and affirmations to use anytime you need a play injection

-- Improvisational games and exercises to rekindle your spirit of play

-- An un"adult"erated, "wonder-fool" new vocabulary for a lifetime of benefits.

THE TAO OF PLAY is an extraordinary opportunity to discover your self as whole; as a worthy original; as friend rather than foe; as fundamentally creative; a peace maker; both blessed and a blessing to a world in need of love.


The book is estimated at 200 pages, or 50,000 words, depending upon the final plan for its format.

Illustrations (and photographs) are a desired option. Singer's own illustrations may serve, with photos of her original artworks setting a visually playful tone. Illustrator Camille Rendal from Templeton University may be available; she illustrated Marcia's three children's works.

The author suggests either a 7" x 7" or 6"x 6" book size or the popular 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" size.

THE TAO OF PLAY has four major subsections: (I) Introduction to Playing (including a Self-Evaluation Quiz, definitions of terms, and how to use the book,); (II) The Nature of Play: Its Essential Characteristics (e.g. Spontaneity and Trust); (III) Playing For Life: Applications and Building Skills (how to bring the play state into many arenas of living, e.g. Drama, Healing, Relationships, Health, Work, and so forth; (IV) How to Conduct an Improvisational Play Workout (IPW).

The Essential Characteristics and Applications/Skills sections (II and III) are presently envisioned as 52 chapters, one for each week of the year, although chapters are useable in any order or time frame. These sections comprise the bulk of the book. Each chapter offers a brief Lesson or Mindful Meditation section, followed by a summarizing Affirmation and a Game/Exercise to build skills and enable readers to master play practices. The 52 affirmations may also inspire an accompanying Wisdom Cards Deck. (See Spin-Offs).

THE TAO OF PLAY evolved from a manual written by Marcia for a Learning Annex course by the same name. She estimates six to 12 months to complete the book.


By the age of nine, neighborhood kids were coming to Marcia for help with their troubled hearts; she's been at it ever since. Today, after three decades of "Love Arts" service within two interrelated careers, her natural talents and skills as a hypnotherapist and spiritual relations mentor, an expressive artist, and hands-on healer have merged as a mature and compelling body of work called THE TAO OF PLAY.

Marcia completed her Master's in Clinical Social Work at U.C. Berkeley in 1970, surprising everyone by spending the next 15 years honing her singer-entertainer talents on live stages in the United States, Europe, and the Far East and appearing on top radio and television shows. In 1985, her natural healing abilities took center stage and in 1990 her Foundation For Intimacy training programs and private practice were established, assisting hundreds of clients and students from ages 10 to 94 to achieve better lives.

A natural innovator, Marcia, along with noted sex therapist Bryce Britton, helped articulate a conscious language of touch in 1988 with "Touch Awareness Trainings" for The Wellness Community in Los Angeles. Other innovations of Marcia's include a body-centered hypnotherapy, which she presented at hypnotherapy conferences and consciousness expos as early as 1983. In 2004 Marcia presented "The Tao of Play" to the L.A. chapter of The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), a 50,000-

member organization founded by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell after his historic flight to the moon.

Marcia has always been smart-intelligence tests for private school at age 12 revealed an I.Q. of over 180-but brains alone couldn't prevent lifelong depressions. Her high sensitivity, intellectual depth, and creative genius were destined for healing and growth work. To "en-Lighten up," she wrote "conscious" Hollywood scripts, songs, and voice-overs (she is a member of the SAG/AFTRA actors' guilds); created cartoons; fashioned talisman dolls and masks; wrote poems; and danced to regain her footing. Marcia's facility in these art forms helps make her an outstanding helpmate and dazzling presenter.

Playshops evolved out of the author's love affair with improvisational theater games and performing once in the late 1970s in a San Francisco comedy venue with actor Robin Williams. Marcia immediately set about adapting improvisation to her passion for self-discovery, establishing herself as among the first to develop theater games (and a lexicon) specifically for this purpose. In 2000, Marcia developed a course and manual for The Learning Annex (San Diego/Los Angeles) and produced a playful series of cable shows in 2002 with young professional actors and one with seniors from her community college class.

Marcia describes her work as "high play." She is currently creating "edu-play-tional" programs for community colleges, senior living communities, and private clients. Publication of The Tao of Play book and companion wisdom card deck will "legitimize" the importance of the subject matter in the corporate arena.

Marcia's writing credits include:

-- Editor/publisher of a national, monthly songwriter's newsletter, interviewing scores of celebrity writers, record company execs, and so forth (1980-1996)

-- Self-published author of three children's activity playbooks, which garnered leading expert testimony (P.L.A.Y.house 1989-present). Titles in print are: Crystal Kids (Healing Arts, Crystals, Meditation); Eating for a Fresh Start (plant-based/vegetarian recipes and scientific facts on eating/digestion); and Love Me, Love My Planet (environmental, green living)

-- Freelance writer for entertainment, alternative health, singles, and New Thought publications since the 1980s. (Includes LaffTrack magazine; Songwriter Connection; The Whole Life Times; Awareness magazine; Tantra: The Magazine; Ecstasy Journal; Crone Chronicles; Vision magazine; Gateway magazine; Steps to Recovery; and Singles magazine)

-- National contest winner for novelty and pop lyrics (Music City Song Competition, '86 and '87)

-- Interviewed authors such as Naomi Lewinski, Keith Thompson, and Catford & Ray for former Tarcher Books public relations staff and the Arielle Ford Agency (Kenny Loggins)

-- Published in Arielle Ford's Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Teen collection

-- Contributed to relationship team authors' Jim Schneichowski and Judith Shervin's Opening To Love 265 Days A Year (HCI 2000)

-- Editor for Healing and Reconciliation booklet by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, world-renowned founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication (Puddle Dancer Press, 2003).

Marcia's media credits include:

-- International guest appearances in Paris

-- Appeared on "Hong Kong Tonight"

-- Reno & Las Vegas local cable

-- Five Hollywood game shows (also hired for de-kinking new word games)

-- Starred in a psychodrama TV pilot with Dr. David Viscott

-- Co-hosted "Backstage Video" with Hank "The Twist" Ballard

-- Produced and hosted "Lighten Up" NPR radio show (1984)

-- Represented San Diego psychics live on "Shawn and Donna" radio show (KPFK-CBS affiliate)

-- Guest appearance included psychic readings on KPFK/PBS radio senior Living show, "Good for Life" (spring 2004), en-Lighting up all the phone lines

-- Voiceovers for BrightMind, Inc., an innovative Internet therapy program (2002)

-- Featured Instructor in "Hearts Cracked Open, the first tantra film for women loving women, (June 2004), written and produced by two of Marcia's students

-- Featured therapist in independent films, "The Big O," and "Phenomenal Sex" (1990s)

Some recent praise for Marcia's workshops and lectures

"Remarkable ability to create safe atmosphere for creative self expression."

-Dr. Richard Kaye, Director Quantum Healing Center, San Diego

"Huge P.R. success with your playful Singles salon." -Marlo Morgan, Barnes & Nobel, Encinitas, CA

"Extremely pertinent, well-presented material [recovering the playful inner child]." -Douglas Maguire, President, PALM, Inc (Problems of Addiction in Labor & Management)

"Rave reviews for your Comedy Improvisation class." -Leon Levy, Director, MiraCosta College Community Services

"Her playfulness and joyous spirit always touch our residents' lives." -Ann Sludikoff, President, SFV Activity Directors Association

"We are already implementing her ideas on lightening up our sales jobs." -Pat Luthy, Regional Director, L.A.W.N. Procter & Gambel

"Tided me through deep depression after my wife died." Leon M. Leon, renowned magician, inventor of the clapboard


THE TAO OF PLAY targets self-help, New Thought/New Age, and recovery markets, with definite appeal to the age 55+ reading group, recently found to be the largest U.S. readership. TOP works for both lay persons or professionals in need of relationship, creativity, or productivity overhauls, healing, and fulfillment in the second half of life.

The market includes sociologist Paul Ray's "cultural creatives" and spirituality enthusiasts looking for state-of-the-art paradigms to live by-readers who are intelligent, sincere, and heart-centered and who enjoy good humor.

TOP's market also includes readers of current big names in spirituality and self-help. Marketing strategy includes sales to New Thought and progressive religious congregations and in recovery bookstores and catalogues. Fans of Hazelden authors, such as Melody Beattie, will find the book personally appealing and professionally for assisting most age groups. Similarly, counselors, psychologists, expressive arts and drama therapists, prison staff psychologists, and social workers in various settings can adapt TOP to both personal and professional needs. Promotion can also target organizations interested in troubled youth and peacemaking (such as IONS -see page 8) and community youth centers).

Two other markets are professional caregivers (doctors, nurses, and aides; administrators and activity directors in senior living communities, nursing homes, and hospitals) and corporate facilitators who show executives, managers, and line staff how to decrease stress levels naturally and bring more humor, cooperation, and productivity into work; boost "Creative IQ"; and increase vitality and overall job satisfaction.

Another TOP priority is the "Edu-play-tion" of teachers and seminar leaders with strategies that boost motivation, improve curriculum, help memory, reduce stress, and increase vital energy for conceptual understanding and application of course material. (Former colleague and self-esteem author/CEO Diane Loomans, creator of the Midwest's very successful "Laughing Classroom" curriculum, may be willing to assist. The author also will explore a tour of the Learning Annex classrooms and anticipates Hollywood books sales by reaching out to the media and acting industries.)


While ancient and modern sages alike have concluded that playing is the lifeblood to success and ultimate well being, and while research shows we have a compelling instinct to play from childhood through old age, play has been largely overlooked as a subject for serious study. Lack of awareness and education is our "competition." However, we foresee no problem establishing the many benefits of playing to a chronically anxious post-9-11 world for our health, peace of mind, and success in work and relationships. And there is evidence that both consumers and the publishing industry are ready for play.


-- Deep Play (Random House, 1999). Naturalist-poet Diane Ackerman's robust treatise explores play's facets and origins and her personal, soulful relationship to the subject

-- Beyond Love and Work: Why Adults Need to Play (Simon & Schuster, 2000). Lenore Terr, M.D. clinical psychologist at University of California, San Francisco Medical school offers a study based on her observations of her children, adolescents, adult patients, and "post traumatic play." Research by child developments psychologists, some historical perspectives and lots of footnotes.

-- The Play Solution (McGraw-Hill, 2002). Drs. Jeannette and Robert Lauer focus only on couples, with ways and reasons to overcome boredom and enjoy each other.

-- Never Act Your Age: Play the Happy Childlike Life At Any Age (Beavers Pond Press, 2002). Dale Anderson, M.D, a spunky elderly surgeon in love with method acting, laughing, nutrition, and coining words offers a humorous work dedicated to becoming "wellderly."

-- Magical Child, Magical Parent (2003). Michael Mendizza and Joseph Chilton Pearce focus on the play "state" for optimum relations between parents and children.

While THE TAO OF PLAY may necessarily reiterate some of the philosophy or concepts of these works, the majority of the TOPS content is new and the format is unique.

FORMAT: Short, user-friendly chapters that serve as Lessons/Meditations, each with an accompanying Affirmation and Exercise/Game. Chapters may be selected as needed, in any order, daily or weekly throughout the year.

CONTENT: A Player's Self-Evaluation Quiz. An original Treasury of Games. How to create your own Improvisational Play Workout (IPW). A clever lexicon (see Spinoffs). Thorough and novel coverage of both characteristics and applications of play. The concept of playing as "Tao" -a way to spiritual self-realization. Play as a 13th Step in Recovery as either self-help or guidebook for professionals in the field.

All other books on play are written for professionals working with children. There are more than two-dozen instructional texts for conducting therapy with children, primarily victims of abuse or neglect, slow learners, and disabled children.

Opportunities abound for THE TAO OF PLAY to enjoy success in a potentially enormous market comprised of stressed or depressed, tired or wired, self-medicating "normal" persons in all walks of life; professionals who work with these persons (and who themselves need relief); and the burgeoning "conscious-raising" or New Thought spiritual movement of individuals seeking an aware, enlightened way of living. AUTHOR SUPPORT

-- Sister, Beth Witrogen-McLeod, a national Caregiving/Aging expert, double Pulitzer nominee

-- Professional organizations--SAG/AFTRA (actors' guilds), IONS (noetic sciences), ABH (hypnotherapy), AFT (American. Federation of Teachers)

-- Local Publications Marcia has freelanced for (Whole Life Times -the country's largest new Age monthly; Awareness Magazine--SoCal's largest bi-monthly; Steps to Recovery, the nation's largest recovery publication; Vision Magazine in San Diego)

-- Arielle Ford/The Ford Group in La Jolla (Publicist for Deepak, Kenny Loggins, Wayne Dyer and other nationally successful authors); Marcia interviewed their authors and wrote two stories for A. Ford's Mystical Teen collection.

-- Producers of TV pilots Singer has participated in (including the Sci Fi channel twice in 2003, featured as a dream contestant and as a psychic)

-- Singer's playbook catalogue is presently listed with several distributors (New Leaf, B&N and Amazon.com Websites, Baker & Taylor; formerly listed with BookPeople, Great Health). TOP might be proposed as an addition.

-- Jean Coggin, Community Relations and Programs Director, B&N bookstore, Encino CA-(improv student of Marcia's)

-- Diane Loomans, self-esteem expert, children's author, co-author of "The Laughing Classroom," which has been a very successful training for teachers in the Midwest


Promotional Opportunities:


IPWs have been actively in play in various forms since 1986. Dedicated to freeing whole-hearted self-expression, to presence, and to feeling alive and well in "the play of moment," workshops resonate with the popular "The Power of Now" philosophy. Non-competitive Improvisational Theater Games are employed (both originals and adaptations), many listed in T.O.P.'s Treasury of Games-a plus for readers wishing to create their own playshop or enhance already existing seminars and lectures.

The IPW utilizes the author's eclectic background. Besides popular exercises (a la "Whose Line is It, Anyway?"), Marcia incorporates psychodrama; playback theater; voice dialogue; sound and movement; energy medicine; relationship energetics; mindfulness meditation; inner child work; self-hypnosis; touch awareness; shamanic journeying; creative journaling; drawing; and a variety of other expressive art forms.

A pioneer in the use of "improv" for self-discovery, Marcia brings 18 years experience facilitating audiences of all ages and walks of life. She will explore an on-the-road tour of The Learning Annex classrooms, and she anticipates Hollywood book sales by reaching out to the media and acting industries. She has demonstrated facets of the IPW on camera for cable TV, and is presently teaching Improvisation to Older Adults through the Encore Older Adult Program at Los Angeles Pierce College (starting her 8th semester) and at senior living communities.

In addition, supportive celebrity testimony will be sought from three actors associated with Improv: Alan Alda, who teaches personal growth via theater games (at Omega Institute in New York); Drew Carey, who will be approached to support the growth and recovery benefits of "improv"isational play to his television and film fans; and actor-director Paul Sills, founder of "Second City" and son of Viola Spolin, who invented Theater Games.

The author has succeeded in getting many testimonials for other self-published books.


-- A TAO OF PLAY wisdom card deck and calendar

-- An illustrated, fun version of her "dingo lingo" lexicon (examples available)

-- "Toon Ups"--illustrated, rhyming cartoon stories and single savvy frames suitable for a syndicated strip (Marcia has won national awards for her clever lyrical poetry, examples available.) Possible targets include The Whole Life Times in LA; Spirituality & Health magazine; Shift magazine (IONS).

-- A greeting card line

-- A Website

-- A syndicated column adapted from the book on the benefits of play (sample piece available from Steps To Recovery). Possible targets are Awareness magazine; Whole Life Times; Spirituality and Health.


-- IRON JANE: Tales of Awakening a Wild Heart. Stories culled from Marcia's very personal journey. Allows her to get into the tougher parts of self-discovery, on the road again to play (200-250 pages). Chapters can also stand alone as articles.

-- The Games Lovers Play: Strategies and Myth-Conceptions for Rescuing Your Love Life--a humorous, sophisticated manuscript that names 12 types of lovers and the troubling games they play unconsciously trying to put Myths of Perfection into play (125 pages).

-- LOVE ARTS: ABseCretS for Lovers-a companion book to Games Lovers Play, with 26 chapters of the alphabet delivering state-of-the-art tips on how to make and keep your love life glowing.




Author's Foreword and "Backword"

"I'd Like To Teach the World to Play"