Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When I Was Young

When I was young, I didn't believe in the real world. Not really, anyway. The world where I got up and went to school and looked at cars and heard boring conversations about politics was, I was certain, a front for something deeper, richer, and much more wild.

If I could just break through!

There were signs everywhere, I told myself. The whispers of wind; a falling leaf arranged just so on the forest floor; a cat that looked at me a little too long. The constant belief that this world wasn't all there was kept me going through the mundanities and frustrations we all forget about as we grow up.

I didn't yearn for this other place to exist; I knew it did and I yearned to get there somehow. How? How? Through dreams? Hypnosis? Travel? Time travel? Astral projection? How do I break through?

And the saddest thing of all was when that started to fade and I grew up.

But even now I catch myself wondering: what if that tree bending in a storm is a signal; what if that dark little hollow in the forest is a doorway; what I touch this boulder and my hand presses on through?

It turns out I have found the way through, after all: what we call "fiction" is really just my way of communing with that Other Place. I close my eyes and imagine it, and then I write it down and try to bring back some of the wildness and strange beauty.

Because, to roughly quote Tennyson: All experience is an arch through which gleams the untravell'd world.


Babs said...

Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis...I'm pretty sure they all found that place well past when they were children. It's still there.

Babs said...

I forgot about Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.