I was a strange child.
I made up languages and drew maps and invented make-believe characters. I whispered stories about my worlds to my stuffed animals and jotted down descriptions in my diaries.
And then when I was about nine years old, I discovered Tolkein and realized I wasn’t the only one. How freeing.
What is a passion you’ve had since childhood?
This untitled poem from November 2006 is the Beginning, where my story world came from.
Bare feet feel a path of cobblestone
Crumbling along the precipice rim–
Through a gate –golden, ancient–
Open in a wasteland akin to a fantasy
Narrow, perilous and winding for a distance
Summoning weary feet to a pool
Cool and relaxing to the spirit and the toes
The pebbles glint, teasing from the bottom
Under a league of aqua
That swells and falls
Clear, opaque; calm, turbulent; azure, invisible
The gentle rhythmic, rasping breathing
Teasing of the mild touching of the waves beneath the soles
Beckoning the Soul that stands attentive
Restless in this empty paradise
Musing on a dilemma: to stay or to submerge
The waves understanding the desires of the foreigner
Alluring and wooing with their gentle undulations
Singing with the sirens whose spirits dwell in them
To indulge would be deadly, a task immersed in terror
Of gentle lapping fingers caressing shattered dreams
Pulling, as fingers draw a thread through a needle,
At the soul between their tips, drifting silent amidst their crests
To resist would bring obsession of the overwhelming “what if”
That pervades a spirit to its core
Demanding constant concentration
Tousled and uncertain, as the tree roots tangle down
Into unfathomed depths of watery cavern,
Lasting longer than a lifetime or at least until indulgence
Never satisfied in longing
Although reason argues its absurdity
But what is reason to one’s doubt?
Thus eternity commences in a hesitant resistance
Of a calm but horrored stare into the peaceful, lacking distance
Ever weighing the dilemma
Ever swinging, as the pendulum, from one extreme and back
Though it never comes to respite in the center of its arc
As perpetual tide in oscillation
Mocks her audience’s desperation
Sliding in and pulling back
To the rhythm of his wavering resolution.
Do you remember what it’s like to have a vivid imagination?
I’ve always had an active imagination. A simple description is enough for my mind to spin brilliant pictures, breathtaking landscapes, the fabric and texture and smell and feel of places and people I have never seen.
I’ve always thought of my imagination as “vivid.”
And then I had a child and watched her grow until she stepped over the threshold of what will be the peak of her beautiful childhood. Here at its edge, she is already exponentially more imaginative than me.
I’m on a quest to rediscover my imagination.
I used to long, to pray for, to forcefully daydream that I would somehow stumble on a portal – a magic wardrobe or a tesseract – a way in to those other worlds I was sure existed somewhere. Something in us desires the irresistible call of adventure and testing and overcoming.
This is why I love fantasy. Not because it’s ethereal or otherworldly. Not because it is fanciful or unrealistic. But because it calls to the deepest, most primal parts of our being – it calls us back to the beauty of childhood and to the immense weight of what it means to grow up. It points us to the True Story that has swept us all up along in it to higher and grander realms of beauty and the breathtaking sacrifices and triumphs of The Great Hero we all long to know.
Do you love fantasy? What draws you to it or repels you from it? Do you nurture your imagination? Do you feel the adventurous call of a swift sunrise? I’d love to hear your story!