Thursday, January 09, 2020

the interior world

Sometimes, I think my desire to become a writer rested so much on the fact that I always, from the youngest age, was the sort of kid that lived mostly in my head and only part of the time outside it.  For the first four years I was an only child, my mother at home to look after me, but mostly the sort of 70's mother who was only tangentially involved in what I would do all day. She watched me, fed me, and occasionally would play board games with me as I grew older, but most of what I knew as "play" occurred on my own, and therefore, mostly in my imagination.   My favorite thing to do in those years was to have her drape a sheet or blanket over the coffee table, under which I would pretend to "camp", which mostly meant lying underneath , surveying my tiny private space and either coloring / drawing or watching the tv through a small gap in the front. After my sister was born, still very much of our play was non-toy related.  Me, my sister, my cousins played many rounds of "Let's pretend.." even as we got older.  Lets's pretend we have different names, lets pretend we're detectives,  let's pretend we are in the The Lost Boy's movie. While we led each other on these creative pursuits and they were fun, I also very much liked my imaginings when I was alone .  I would concoct stories in my head based on movies or books I'd read.  I would listen to my Walkman and live out the songs in my head.

But then there were always stories unwinding. .  They's sometimes be brief, but sometimes went on for days, transforming, becoming other stories. Or maybe these are what we would consider "daydreams" --which were almost as vivid and real to me as my night ones.   I had a crush on a boy in 7th grade and I imagined us in a horror movie summer camp scenario--how he would save me from drowning, but also would somehow turn out to be the killer.  My internal stories were fueled by Hollywood, but also by books--mostly horror that I was, courtesy of an aunt that passed them on to me, reading by the dozens. Though I didn't always write them down, I had endless plots going through my head. The summer camp scenario was a favorite, but another favorite in junior high was that I was teen pop star/ ice skater who was reunited with her childhood sweetheart--a teen I would pretend to be whilst lipsyncing Debbie Gibson in the mirror.  I think the most troubling thing about this story was that I was dying--mortally ill with cancer or some tragic disease that made my story even more poignant.   I would also concoct large historical family trees revolving around fictional mansions--decades and generations of families--always wrought with unfortunate deaths and madnesses (in some ways, I feel these were a pre-cursor to things like my unusual creatures project.)

It was the sort of world building I still love to do--through writing projects, through visual projects, through other things like the murder mysteries I design for the library.  I am still occasionally angry when I am pulled away from my internal wold and have to engage with the actual one. Still wish I could spend more time in my head than outside it.

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