Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Dream Tale

As a child my parents were frugal. My mother was fond of saying "we're not wasting money on..." and two of her favorite things not to waste money on were cable television and pop. There are a good many other things we didn't waste money on, designer clothes, expensive shoes, hair cuts, and smelly soaps, but these two things on which we didn't "waste money" stand out in my mind.  The one because it surprises me, in retrospect, that I wasn't hopped up on caffeine when I tell you that I was a horrible insomniac as a child.  Falling asleep at night was one of the most difficult things I attempted nightly as though I'd just downed 20oz of  Code Red. The other influenced me in that I knew there was a wealth of entertainment I wasn't seeing, because I heard the other kids at school talk about it, and so when I'd lay down to go to bed, after mom would take my book and my flashlight away from me, I'd hold very still, close my eyes, and construct a story of my own for entertainment in those pesky hours between eleven and three.
I'd create whole different worlds peopled by caricatures of real people I knew, shadowy nondescript people who served functions more than anything else, and dynamic individuals with all the quirks of genuine people. I'd spend weeks and even months in a story line or created world, every night constructing new scenes or re-imagining them until they were just right.
They were like lucid dreams for me, these stories I'd build.
They weren't always worlds entirely of my own creation. Sometimes I'd borrow worlds from the books I was reading, envisioning them clearly in my mind and slipping into the story alongside my favorite characters.  In retrospect, I am surprised that I created sub-stories within and around the plot rather than filling the shoes of another character.
I cherished that time spent in worlds of my own, and eventually, as the insomnia wore down and my time imagining was replaced with watching magnificent fiction on television with my father late into the night, because mom finally caved in and decided that cable wasn't a waste, I didn't have that time and focus,I began to miss it.
I still miss slipping into my favorite stories.  I wish I could do it more often.

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