IMAGINATION AND ILLUSION
Earlier this week, I heard a great line from the TV show STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. One of the actresses said: "I have a vivid imagination and I get paid a lot of money for it." My husband said to me: "That's what it is--you have a vivid imagination." To which I replied: "And I haven't been paid one cent for it yet!"
Paid or not, imagination is central to who I am. I have always lived stories in my head. It's nice to find an acceptable outlet for that at last! As I raise my children, there are three traits I most want to instill in them: faith, humor, and imagination. Thus far, I seem to be succeeding with each (child and trait!). My two older boys read lots of fantasy--ERAGON and CIRQUE DU FREAK and PENDRAGON. All of my children make up plays and act out situations with their friends or by themselves. My 7-year-old daughter was frustrated last spring with how slowly I was reading HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE to her, so she started taking it to bed. She's now started the fifth book in the series, having read the previous four on her own. She has said that she can't wait until she turns 11 and receives her letter to Hogwarts. And do you know, I honestly can't tell if she believes that or not. At 7, I'm not going to ruin it for. She'll be pulled into hard reality soon enough, let her have her months of dreams.
My 10-year-old son has been known to ask "Do you believe in . . ." anything from Lord of the Rings elves to alternate worlds to vampires. I give him my Fox Mulder/X-Files answer: I want to believe.
There's no need to flood me with comments on how I'm deceiving my children, even lying to them. There's no need to give me your opinion on how children need to trust their parents. I am quite confident in my children's ability to hang on to both trust and imagination. After all, I've functioned 37 years in this world without having to be locked up for my own safety--and just maybe my vivid imagination will pay off someday.
As for illusion, that's what people with vivid imaginations create: in words, in images, in stage roles. Last night we saw the film THE ILLUSIONIST about a stage magician in turn of the century Vienna. Illusions abound in the film and the beauty of it was that I believed for two hours in what I experienced on screen. It's a magical, brilliantly-written, subtly-acted film that I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in the very best of what movies can do.