Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Joy of Imagination

She continued to unpack her belongings as the youngster arranged her dolls on her bunk. A new doll with a china head was part of the crew and Mattie addressed them in a low voice as she played.
“…and you must always obey the captain’s orders or else she’ll maroon you!”
“Perhaps we can have a tea party with your friends there?” Lydia said a touch frantically. “If you cooperate and have your lessons with me each morning, and do your chores, we will have a tea party later in the voyage.”
“Pirates don’t have tea parties, Miss Burke, that would be silly.”
--[WIP] The Pirate's Secret Baby

I was taking my daily walk around our neighborhood and saw two little girls playing in a front yard. A tree had been cut down, large circles of wood were scattered on the ground, and the girls were rearranging them to be a "fireplace" and "kitchen" in their pretend house.

I loved seeing this. Here are two budding mechanical engineers, or architects, or building construction majors, having fun outdoors in the fresh air. They had no electronics or pink plastic castles or adult interference, just the power of their own imaginations.

My imagination is my primary tool and my daily walk helps hone that tool. I don't wear headphones or earbuds while I'm walking, and keep my phone off. This is my time where the fresh air and walking motion jars ideas loose from my brain. I do take a small notepad and a pencil, and my neighbors are used to the sight of me going from nearly four miles an hour to a full stop, jotting down a snippet of dialogue or a plot point before it can get away.

And for whatever it's worth, I don't think tea parties are silly at all. In fact, I hunted high and low to find a non-pink tea set (bless you, Fisher Price!) so my sons would have tea parties with me when they were small. We all enjoyed them, along with an array of stuffed animals like Windy and Peetoo (the boys named them), bear puppets who also, I was assured, enjoyed a good cup of pretend tea.

So here's to the joy of using your imagination! I raise my (pretend) tea cup to all the little girls and boys who still have the most fun by using the best toy of all.


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