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It’s Imagination…

When I was 8 years old, my family moved to the Virginia Forest area of Falls Church, VA. We lived in a nice, 2-story brick-and-wood house about two-thirds of the way up a hill. The back was more forest than yard, though a single dogwood somehow flourished underneath the pines and other tall trees; a wide, shallow valley of grass ran along one side of the house; and out front a grove of poplars stood at the crest of a short incline that sloped on down to the street. None of our neighbors’ yards was fenced, so when we chose we could race pell-mell through their backyards all the way down to the bottom of the hill, and our rule was that whoever was still able to stand at the end won.

Looking back through adult eyes, I suppose our house and that neighborhood would still be appealing, but nothing out of the ordinary. But when I was eight it was something else entirely:  then it was a place of magic, and dreams, and endless possibilities.

The backyard was where I became a pioneer setting up a home, an Indian slipping through the woods, a fox on the hunt, a ghost, a deer, a flame of fire dancing through the trees. I galloped an imaginary horse through the long grass valley at the side of the house; I traveled on wagon trains and planted crops and drove cattle all the way to the other side. Sometimes it was an outdoor stage where the great dramatic actress played to her adoring fans; sometimes it was simply a meadow just right for pretend picnickers. And in the grove of poplars out front many strange and wonderful things took place: fairies came out and danced in the shadows, a queen held court, animals would talk, treaties that could have solved everything were made (and usually were tragically broken). I couldn’t imagine a place that I could have loved more.

And then one day in school we were asked to write an essay on something we really liked. Not surprisingly, I wrote about where I lived. But what was surprising – even now– was the length and depth and detail I included in that essay. It was the first A+ I’d ever received, but although that was exciting, what struck me even more was how wonderful it felt to capture all that I’d experienced and enjoyed in my imagination on paper. I was way too young then to even consider filtering what I wrote, so in that essay I just wrote about it in all the ways I imagined it.

It’s harder as an adult to do that. But on my best days, I still do.

Hello World!

Well, here I am at last!  I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’ll be taking a WOW! Women on Writing Blogging 101 course over the rest of the summer, so hopefully I’ll soon find out.  Until then…