Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Waking Dreams

 Cast of The Upstairs Room (e.g. a dream of mine)
A Middle School Lacrosse Team from 1970 (e.g. a dream of Wes Anderson)
As I write less and less on this blog, I'm wondering if it isn't morphing into a tumblr account. Let me make up for this deficit, right now: 

I was about ten when I began fictionalizing my life in earnest. It wasn’t that the world itself was especially disappointing, just my world, my existence, and I needed a means of making up for all the things I felt I was lacking. I found myself regularly thinking of places I’d much rather be, other people and other existences I’d rather be inhabiting. The secrets I made up for myself included my parents not being my true parents; that I fell from the sky, aged four; that I washed up on a beach; that I’d travelled through time, but I temporarily had amnesia. These stories, while they lasted, were precious and I savoured them.
The egocentric nature of this chronic daydreaming shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Like a little Walter Mitty in the making, the tales I weaved were entirely self-serving, for nobody’s benefit but my own. I could nurture some sly untruth about myself and, in some magical way, add a little ornamentation to what was otherwise so needlessly prosaic and unexciting. I could wander through the world with a new and secret frame of reference, a new narrative to live by and through which to reinvigorate the world. And because my acting out was entirely invisible to anyone else, I could play innocent. After all, I wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. Not in a real world, punishable way. And yet I could also enjoy a thrill of immorality, of rule-breaking and of drawing outside the lines.
There were drawbacks. An over-active imagination can just as easily conjure devils as angels from the woodwork. Fears of bombs and of kidnappers spoiled for me a great many excursions in the real world. From the age of ten to about twelve, I practically had to be chaperoned to sleep; I had to know there was an adult awake, somewhere, in the house—just in case.