…was that my mirrors was actually a two-way talking device. I’d have conversations with myself in my mirror, pretending that it was a friend I was talking to, even if it was an imaginary friend (I had no Imaginary Friend, named, per se, but plenty of people who could have been on the other end of that com link). As I grew older, the conversations turned into earnest rehearsals of conversations that would be stressful (or ones in which I wished I’d said something differently, thus perfecting the art of “I should have said…”). But it probably started about the same time that I started imagining that the Dukes of Hazzard were my real family, that I’d been switched at birth and that they’d come in the General Lee and take me off into the sunset to live happily ever after. (Yes, I did imagine the sunsets.) That would be a year or two before I started wishing I was born Japanese, because at the time the Japanese kids were touted as the smartest in the world and I wanted to be the smartest kid in the world. Only I would never have said “kid” because one of my mottoes at the time was “kids are baby goa
ts.” (The other was that one saying they always recited in Brownies, the one about new and old friends, one is silver, the other gold? I have it in a Brownie art book we made in the 2nd grade around here somewhere.)
Candice Ransom jokes that she needs to write me as a character in one of her books. I kind of feel like I should yell dibs. But then she went and did it anyway. (Sort of. I’m honored! I’ll have to give you a link later when it’s available.)
I think it’s pretty important that those of us who are involved in children’s lit be aware not only of all the developmental stages and how kids read and what the kids in our lives are into, but also that we remember that sense of wonder we had when we were children, that expectation that pretty much anything could happen, if we just knew how to access it. Sometimes, it’s just so hard to remember. I can remember feelings and memories, but time has a way of filtering it to make a life narrative.
What childhood fancies did you have? Or that your friends/family had, or that your kids have/had? If you’re a writer, do you incorporate them in your books? How do you get in touch with that inner fantasist nowadays?
And can I tell you how much I love fantasy books? Because you never have to really give up that sense of wonder.