I have heard famous actors say in interviews that they have the best job in the world. That they never had to grow up, spending their days playing make-believe and dressing up. That’s sort of the way I feel about writing… like it has kept me well and truly in touch with my inner child. Hopefully, in turn, that will help me to understand my own future children better.
I have mentioned before that one of my most vivid childhood memories is from the day, 6-year-old Frannie asked to be excused from class to go to the bathroom and instead found herself wandering down to the playground singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow to my adoring, albeit invisible, munchkin fans. More recently, I found my Grade 1 journals that further supported the idea that I was born to lie, i.e. write fiction. When I asked my Mum if she was ever concerned about how much I lied as a child, she said that she didn’t believe I lied, just that I stretched the truth to create a more magical reality.
There were stories of fairies, of animals I befriended and recounts that my adult brain knows are ridiculous exaggerations but my child brain would have believed wholeheartedly. So I’m glad my parents hoarded all of my ‘stuff’ while I was younger. Now my journals, as embarrassing as they are, take pride of place on my desk serving to inspire and stir my imagination. They’re also a reminder that I picked the correct creative path by choosing words over art… the illustrations leave quite a bit to be desired.
Look, I don’t want to name names *cough*Frannie&Marie*cough*, but two besties recently set out on a mission to re-watch the entire six series of US TV drama Dawson’s Creek. This fraught with emotions journey back to Capeside circa 1998 began last Saturday where in the pilot episode, the audience is introduced to way-too-self-aware-to-be-15, 15-year-olds Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen. Stories ensue that centre on friendship, family and the confusion that surrounds puberty, young love and whether 90s fashion was ever a good idea. Joey’s incessant eye-rolling and lip-biting aside, I know this is going to be a rowboat ride down memory lane that I will thoroughly enjoy.
More terrifying to me than the fact that I really love what most people would call ‘bad’ television, is the realisation that I’m a lot like young Dawson Leery. The same Dawson Leery who I find infuriatingly dramatic and oblivious to the world around him. The same film-addicted Dawson Leery who said “I reject reality”.
The moment he said that, was the moment it hit me – if life does ever get too ‘real’ for me I retreat to a world of books, film & television. I often wish I could enlist Tim Burton to create a world just for me where days were spent resting in fields of daisies, where the hug of the warm sun would always be felt and seen in the rosy blush of everyone’s cheeks. Other times I dream that my house has been swept away at night and that I have awakened to the songs, colours and wonders of Oz. I am 25 however and reality does tend to smack you really hard in the face at this age, so while I will probably always turn to fiction first for comfort, there a few very real things that come to mind when I need some reminding that reality can be just as magical as my imagination.