Sunday, March 11, 2007

Meeting yourself on the page

A little girl lives across the street. Her name is Amanda and she's six years old. Friday I noticed her standing at their screen door, looking out into the front yard at . . . nothing.

Absolutely nothing was happening out there. No traffic driving by. No pets frolicking on the lawn. And yet she stood there for the longest time, just staring.

Eventually she left, but she came right back with a toy stroller, which she pushed up next to the screen so Baby Doll could join the fun. And they stood there together. Watching something I couldn't see. Something that was probably happening only in Amanda's imagination. A valiant knight coming to rescue her and Baby Doll from their tower prison. A butterfly ballet. A tiger slinking its way through the jungle.

I can only guess. But her unhurried contentment reminded me of myself as a child--how I loved to go outside at dusk and swing on my swingset until the stars came out, pumping the swing as hard and high as I could go, imagining all sorts of fantastic things. I'd close my eyes as the wind flung my hair first back then forward, laughing at the sensations of plunging down and rising up. If any neighbors were watching, they may have wondered why I kept at something so monotonous for so long. But I wasn't there. I was flying off to distant lands "where dreams are born and time is never planned."

One reason I think everyone should write is to meet yourself on the page. Even if no one but you ever reads your words. The older we get, it's easy to forget the kind of simplicity that stands at the screen door living an imaginary adventure. Writing lets us go back to Neverland again.

Here's some pixie dust. Now, fly!

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