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Let’s Pretend

from childhood

from childhood

I had these Let’s Pretend records when I was little. I’ve kept them because for the art. With tracing paper I’d try to copy pieces of the covers.

My father read me fairy tales even though he’d only recently learned to read. I recorded The Wizard of Oz from TV onto tape player and play it while I waited for sleep.

My father told me the abandoned house behind trees on our road was a witch’s house. He told me elves were the in hot air balloons over our house and Indians were across the lake sending him smoke signals.

My mother gave me Tarot cards, spent the night in a cemetery, and lived with a man who taught a class on death and dying.

For a long time I believed in all of it.

Perhaps I should be less worried about embracing the label of fairy tale writer.

What were passions and beliefs in childhood? Are they still with you today?

10 thoughts on “Let’s Pretend

  1. Not a thing in the world wrong with being a fairy tale writer. The Grimm brothers were quite good at it, and Disney seems to be making a killing off telling fairy tales.

    Childhood beliefs? Well, when I was about 2 or 3, I used to think that if I stood at the side of the TV, I’d be able to see the side of the people on the screen. And I used to think songs on the radio were being performed by that band right then in real life, and that all TV shows were live too. My Barbies, I was certain, came to life while I slept too. I’m pretty sure I’ve grown out of those. 😉

    The ones still with me? Hmm. I guess I’m still waiting for that “you don’t belong here” thing to go away. 🙂

  2. My earliest stories and books were also fairy tales, fantasies and science fiction. Grimms. Alice in Wonderland. Ursula K LeGuin. I read a few more realistic things, like Little House on the Prairie (which, in my opinion, still holds that feeling of the fantastical) and those uber-realism teen books all about the heart break of being a girl. But then I started back into the fantastical. I read horror in Junior High and then fell hard back into science fiction and fantasy. And that’s when I started writing novels… although I never finished any.

    When I went to college, I switched to literary fiction, for reading and for writing, but to be honest, the ones with a hint of the magical were my favorite… like Beloved.

    It wasn’t until I had kids that I finally realized I should be writing fantastical fiction… whether that is straight s/f or contemporary supernatural fiction. It was my ego that said I had to be writing literary fiction. That’s “real” writing. That’s the stuff that has the social cachet. But what is that about? Just about wanting other people to think you are a “real” writer. But you are a real writer. (PS, I need to finish reading your book, but my computer crapped out on me before I got to the end. I will get back to it, that’s why I haven’t gotten back to you, don’t be scared.)

    Anyway, I love fantastical fiction. And I’m finally okay with writing the best I can in the genres I love.

    • I’m so glad I met you here in cyberspace. I too finally have to admit that my favorite books have always had fantastical elements. Good for us for figuring this out about ourselves. (I just hope it isn’t a disaster if I get into the MFA program.)

  3. I read some pretty creepy horror comic books when I was still in single digits.

    One story really stayed with me, about this giant creature which was really just a looooong arm with three claws and a “thumb.” No mouth, eyes, etc. It lived in the sewers and storm drains of a small town, and came out at night to feed by pushing aside the manhole covers.

    And how did it feed, with no mouth? It caught smallish creatures (no bigger than, say, a child) in its hand and squeezed… I was freaked out about manhole covers for years.

    And I imagined all sorts of (much more benign!) magic taking place in the handful of wooded lots in that town. Leprechauns and such. Although Disney’s Darby O’Gill movie also freaked me out, with the banshee.

    Now that I think about it, I was lucky to grow up in the 1960s so I could have a term like “freaking out” available.

  4. Still can’t watch horror, unlike my children 🙂 Grew up in very remote place, lots of stone circles. ghosts and hairy hands on moorlands. Probably explains a lot. There was also a UK kids programme called the ‘Singing Ringing Tree’ that scarred a generation – I think you may like it.

    • I don’t watch horror either. No way.

      And of course thanks to The Hobbit and Narnia and many others, I’ve never quite shaken the sense that the UK is more magical than the US.

  5. I was a weird kid who turned into a weirder adult.

    I used to dream and daydream about people, every single person, having their heads connected together by thin, blue tubes that never seemed to tangle (although, I always feared for the entanglement) and these tubes connected all of our thoughts.

    Now I think that it was a kid’s interpretation of the connectivity of the Universe.

    I also used to think that the way hair grew was b/c teeny, bald men were inside our heads unrolling our hair from a spool.

    I have no idea where in the heck that one came from.

    But, now I’m a grown-up who believes in fairies and a collective soul. I believe in the magic of books and am willing to be transformed forever by tales of young women who wear red lipstick to tell lies and can be electrified into reading the thoughts of others. I secretly believe in vampires, but that just may be b/c I like to have my neck bitten passionately. TMI, sorry.

    Like I said, weirder adult.

    • Love the weirdness.

      That is a brilliant imagination! I used to think mice were in my stomach riding on ferris wheels and eating cotton candy.

      And it isn’t TMI for me. Thank you for sharing that brilliance.

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