I occasionally browse Netflix for something good to watch, but as there almost never is any, I return to the safe bets. That means mostly Star Trek (except for The Next Generation, which over 7 seasons only had a handful of episodes I liked), Sleepy Hollow (TV series), and a few films. My latest futile attempt to find something new led me to a rather disturbing title, Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates. Anyone’s head is likely to be a horror show, and I have no wish to find myself in someone else’s madness. Could you imagine getting lost in David Lynch’s head or worse, Stephen King’s?
Are you sure you want to look inside an author’s head, amyway? I spend quite a bit of time inside my own head, especially now that I’m so focused on wrapping up my translated manuscript. So when you see/hear me going silent, what do you think is going on inside? Could it be that I’m doing research? Imagine if I notice every little detail, every frailty I can use in a fictional character. Inviting an author to a party could be a little like inviting one of my three childhood companions, Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, or Sherlock Holmes. They all had steel-trap minds, which meant that they didn’t miss much.
I frequently think about plots when I turn silent. One of the joys of having an imagination is seeing stories wherever I turn. I like dandelions, especially the seeds. I know they are not a favourite among those trying to create a perfect lawn, but in my opinion a lawn wouldn’t be perfect without the dandelions. The seeds look like fairies and I like the idea of being visited by creatures or spirits from the Otherworld, or even Tir na Nog.
My neighbour across the street seems to be in particularly high spirits. So much in fact that the big lighted Santa with multiple reindeer they have in the garden decided to stick around. I still see them from my sitting room window, and I ask myself why. What reasons could Santa Claus have for staying in Telemark? I have many interesting theories.
I sometimes have sinister thoughts about the evil wizard that have turned people into Christmas tree ornaments, or trapped them inside a snow globe, or chopped a head/foot/arm off a ginger bread/sugar cookie person. This is the other side of Christmas, a side where evil lurks. This is why I don’t like clowns either. It’s basically an old man wearing a mask, enticing children with tricks he knows they are going to be attracted to. I didn’t need Stephen King’s Pennywise character to shun the circus, which I never thought was entertaining.
I frequently got into trouble as a child because of my imagination, and this continued into my adult years as well. It’s the old story of “grow up and start being responsible for once”. I hope I have a more balanced view concerning my daughter. She’ll have to adjust some as she gets older, but I hope she doesn’t have to lose everything. Life without fantasy is pretty tame. I miss some of the stages we have left behind us, such as when I followed her to school through the downtown area. She was fascinated by the film The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl at the time, and as we crossed the town square, the red stones were the only safe path through the lake of lava. We couldn’t possibly walk outside these lines.
In some ways it was fantasy that saved me, so although it got me into trouble quite a bit, especially in school, I think it also worked as insulation. It protected me against some of the harmful effect of my surroundings. I’m glad I still have the ability to create stories wherever I go, and I do have to admit, I get a certain amount of pleasure out of turning my least favourite people into a fictional character.