Today I was standing on the front steps of my daughter’s house, next to a flowering plant with honey-suckle-like blossoms. And a ruby-throated hummingbird came to sip at the nectar, hovering at my elbow. I could have reached out and touched it with a finger. Suspended before me, a manikin on invisible strings, regarding me with its tiny shining black bead of an eye. Evidently deciding I was harmless, it hummed its way from flower to flower not even an arm’s length from this clumsy, fumbling imperfect human. Iridescent green, sheened gold, each feather perfection, each wing invisible – just a blur across the leaves – tail tipped black and white, stiletto beak stabbing with the precision of a sewing machine needle…a wonder in a world we skim by with so little empathy or understanding.
My grandson, just three, his world as totally self-centred as a child’s horizon dictates it must be, yet exploring with his imagination in ways that astound me. In a moment, he can be a princess, a prince, a boy trying to grow up or a baby to be pampered. He uses language – a free-flowing waterfall of words – in ways not limited as we adults limit ourselves with thoughts of rules and the niceties of our polity and our desire not to appear ridiculous. He is a king, a dancer, a singer, a chef, a vulgar story teller and a kind Cinderella, all in the space of a single tale. When he is overwhelmed and uncertain, he says, “I want to go home” even when he is already home. And in so doing he sums up the adult world, where we would all like to go home, yet never can, not truly, for only as children – if we were lucky – did we know what it was to be enfolded within the safety of parental love and the security of a mother’s arms and to believe utterly and fearlessly that we were indeed safely home.
Beautiful blog post, Glenda. I’m going to have to get round to reading one of your books one of these days, aren’t I? 🙂
I wonder, when we sit down to write fantasy stories and immerse ourselves in a world of our own, role-playing all the characters in the story we’re telling, are we creating for ourselves a kind of personal equivalent of that childhood sense of feeling at home?
We’ll have to make a pact, Cat. I read your edited short story collections, and you read my fantasies…lol.
Gods, Ru, I think my worlds are sometimes more like hell than home. Although I guess the idea that I can make the hero/ine triumph over odds – no matter how extreme they are – if I want it that way, is in fact comforting.
Especially when in our own real world we are so often at the mercy of an absurd bureaucracy, asinine rules and guilt by assumption, not proof. After all, if someone emails another and his syntax seems unusual, then it must be written in code, right? And if the guy’s a Muslim, therefore the code must be advocating violence, right?
Even if you don’t actually understand it…
At least in fiction, we can make it turn out right, i.e.,justly, if we want it that way.
Yes, I didn’t mean the worlds we’re describing in the stories, but rather the creative environment (or mindset) within which we sit down and write whatever we’re writing.
Asinine, ignorant, and dominated by assumption and fear – yup, that sums up the so-called real world all too accurately, alas. 😮