Wednesday, March 2, 2011

imagination, pretending and daydreams

Do you daydream?  I used to daydream all the time.  I certainly am thinking all the time, but not the sort of fantasies that I used to engage in almost constantly.  The other day my mom and I watched Anne of Green Gables.  It's one of my very favorite books and I like the PBS movie version, too.  That Anne is definitely a daydreamer.  She revels in using her imagination, creating stories and also pretending things like having a different name or wearing fashionable dresses when in fact her clothes are plain.  At one point she asks Marilla, "Do you never imagine things different from what they really are?"  When Marilla responds that she does not, Anne says, "How much you miss!"  After hearing that the other night, I began to think about what I'm missing.  Maybe I need to imagine and daydream more.  Maybe I need more pretending.

It can be a good journaling exercise.  Sit down and imagine a glorious garden (or someplace else you'd like to visit).  Close your eyes.  Imagine with all of your senses and then write it down.  It's amazing how happy I felt after I tried that, as if I really had visited that beautiful place, smelled those flowers, tasted those fruits, listened to the trickle of water and sat on the stone bench in the middle of it all.  I can still picture it in my head, as if it's a real place.  The truth is that even though it isn't a "real" place, I can go back any time I want.

What did you pretend and imagine as a child?  Anne Shirley imagines that her name is Cordelia.  Didn't you imagine different names for yourself, too?  I remember very clearly that playing with my friends almost always started with choosing a name.  I haven't imagined a different name for myself in years and years and years.  I'm not sure I'd want one.  But maybe it would be fun, creating different personas (reminds me of the book Garlic and Sapphires).  Maybe I should try giving a pretend name next time I need to give my name at a restaurant.  I'll have to start thinking about what it should be.

I also imagined whole zoos and farms full of animal companions when I was a child.  That long ago giraffe (and the giant strawberry that accompanied him), my horse (actually my bicycle), my wolfish dog, and more fanciful animals, too.  I remember that once we had an assignment in school to create an imaginary animal.  Mine was a miniature cat with wings who lived in my pocket.  I loved the thought of a secret friend in my pocket and even tried carrying my pet mouse around like that (like Ralph S. Mouse!).  The reality, sadly, did not live up to my fantasies, but a tiny, (imaginary) flying cat was the perfect companion for my pocket (it never bit me like my pet mouse did).

Winged animals who in nature don't have wings must be something that strikes a chord with me because one of my favorite picture books is about a winged pig.  I first saw the book Perfect the Pig on Reading Rainbow and fell in love.  It's a sweet story about a misfit runt of the litter (runty pigs make good story characters, I guess.  My other favorite is, of course, Wilbur from Charlotte's Web).  After helping an old sow he's granted a wish: wings.  Fitting in even less with his littermates, the piglet flies away.  He ends up in a big city, exhausted and hungry, landing on a fire escape where he's found by a kind woman.  The woman, Olive, is an artist and a gardener.




I can see why I loved this book so much.  I think I wanted to live Olive's life, growing things (I love that she has corn growing in a pot in her apartment), making art, living with a flying pig




and saving money in a jar for a house in the country (if you're interested you can watch the episode here).  Oh how I loved that little flying pig.  And I still do love the story.  I guess I love more than just the story because as an adult I started collecting cast iron flying pigs.



Even though I do feel a little silly admitting my collection (I'm not big into collecting things that aren't useful, my old rotary phones all still work), I love my metal flying pigs.  They remind me of my childhood delight in imagination.  They remind me to believe in possibilities, something that's become more and more important to me.  And now, I will look at them and try to remember that imagining and pretending should still be a part of every day.

5 comments:

  1. Oh yes I live maybe more than half my life in my imagination. But you probably guessed my view on this considering on my blog I state "with imagination everything is possible". I love that you can travel anywhere and be anyone and create anything :-)

    I love your metal flying pig! I have a thing for elephants; I love them in reality and in ornamental form.

    Anne of Green Gables - when I read this I got all nostalgic. I loved the books and adaptation too. I'm trying to introduce some of my old favourites to my 9 yr old daughter who is an insatiable reader. I hadn't thought of Anne - great idea, thanks!

    BTW thanks for leaving lovely comments about the interview with Shannon.

    Kat X

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  2. This is all very charming. I know that, as a girl, I always had my nose stuck in a book and strongly identified with certain characters. And, oh, an illustrated storybook really grabs at my heart! Imagination is the thing that gives us wings!

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  3. Ana ng! You can always resort to that! :)

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  4. I just watched the story of 'Perfect'. I am so glad it had a happy ending! I think your cast iron flying pigs is a wonderful collection to have and very unusual. Imagination is a wonderful thing indeed.

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  5. This is such a lovely post. Daydreaming is so important. I love love your flying pigs!

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