Fiction, Imagination, Memory, Writing

Remember imagining aloud?

Was there any time we made better use of imagination than during childhood? Hours, the whole day, spent pretending with friends, or siblings, or alone. I remember what I requested for my sixth Christmas: a cowboy hat, guns and holster, and doll dishes. Boys or girls, I was ready to play with anyone.

I think I must have been the chief “imaginer” in my circle, the director of play. I might have been bossy. 😉 I remember using the phrase “Now you say …” quite a lot. Sometimes I preferred to play alone with my dolls, probably because they always did what I said.

One of my favorite things to do was to clothespin one side of an old quilt to the backyard fence to make a tent—excuse me, covered wagon. This was during the era I read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. What adventures my children and I had as pioneers.

Baby dolls turned to Barbie’s, played with alone or with friends. And favorite movies had to be reenacted, with or without dolls. Oh, and then there was school! Not real school, which I loved, but play school, which I also loved. One particular friend and I played this until junior high—yes, this was back in the dark ages, when children were children.

We had an elaborate set up in her basement, with books, and notebooks, and real school papers we’d saved. In our schoolroom, we had a world map and a globe, fancy. Even better, we had a chalkboard, a real slate one, and fairly large! Her father hung it on one wall for us. We took turns being the teacher and the student. This was serious stuff.

As children, we were actors. We were writers. Some of us still are. Using my imagination, I play. Only now, I do it on paper, and I’m still saying, “Now you say …”

♦ ♦ ♦

After I wrote this, it sounded familiar to me, so I checked my blog archives, Sure enough, I’m repeating myself. 😳  Here’s a link to my earlier post about childhood play, if you care to read it: https://lindacassidylewis.com/2009/11/07/cultivating-a-fiction-writer/

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21 thoughts on “Remember imagining aloud?”

  1. I think there are two sides to me when I write; the serious adult side that handles the deeper subject matter and the carefree little girl who writes the funny quirky things. That said, I think it’s all tied together by some remaining childhood curiosity.

    My sister and I used to put on plays and puppet shows for my parents. We would even set up a stand to sell them popcorn and soda before Act 1 and during intermission. I’d dictate the dialogue but my sister would always veer off in her own direction. I learned to improvise at an early age. I believe those skills benefited my writing in ways I just now understand. Thanks to your post. 😉

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  2. My friends and I set up a stage in my attic when I was a kid. Thinking back, I lived in a very big, very old house and the unheated attic was decidedly creepy, although I didn’t realize it at the time. We’d put on plays, mostly for my poor mother (and maybe the squirrels living in the corners) who was forced to watch them and tell us how wonderful we were.

    A couple of times a year I dream about that attic. And it’s always, always a weird dream.

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  3. Linda, I was just today watching my oldest child imagine out loud in the car (amazing what a world you can invent with a piece of junk mail and a stuffed animal!) and I thought, wow, do I remember those days! Then I realized that I still imagine a good deal of my day–maybe not out loud (at least, not as much…)

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