Recently, I tried to get started on a children’s story of a girl sleeping in an elegant dollhouse, an image I had in a dream awhile back that has stayed with me. But I felt extremely critical of what I wrote. I had to stop and let it breathe. Let the criticalness soften—fall away.
A Canadian by birth, I’ve long been fascinated by the creator of Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery, also a Canadian. This morning I picked up the novel and began re-reading it. Hearing the narrator talk about Green Gables itself as well as Anne’s imaginativeness and pluck made me realize how important the imagination is to us all, how we need places like Green Gables to visit, not just an escape but an extension of everyday reality. In this context, Green Gables represents an innocent ideal that also exists in this world.
I have a great need to write such stories for others and myself. I must keep alive this possibility of going beyond the everyday. The potholes we get stuck in. The bumps in the road. Without the imagination, we’re nothing. I don’t think courage, will, or insight mean much without the imagination, by which I mean the capacity to dream of better worlds, to allow other worlds to enter us. To create out of our own imaginations something no one has seen before. New vistas. Unlimited possibilities.
I also was moved by Anne’s feistiness and the way she used her imagination to survive. This ability allowed her to endure awful circumstances as an orphan. And it’s what allows me to face the challenges of aging. We need that kind of spunk to survive.