The other day, an acquaintance asked me what my hobbies are. I asked, tongue-in-cheek, “You mean besides singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and cleaning up bodily waste?” She didn’t get it. This was a sure sign that this lady was not, as Anne Shirley would say, a kindred spirit.
I decided that the straightforward approach was best, and I told her that I like to read and write, and I might play soccer again if I can get in better shape. She was nonplussed.
“You write? Like, in a journal?”
I sighed inwardly. “No, I write whatever I want. Right now I’m working on a picture book as well as a novel for young adults, but sometimes I write poetry too.”
“Oh. I never know how people write fiction. I’d never be able to think up all those stories. Nothing that interesting ever happens to me.” She waved her hand dismissively.
“I stay at home with two little ones, so my life is interesting, but not in a murder mystery kind of way. I just have an over-active imagination.”
She gave me a blank look.
I get that a lot.
I always think it must be boring to live without imagination. I mean, what do you do when you’re at the doctor’s office, and you’ve read every page of the two 23-year-old, half-disintegrated magazines in the waiting room, and they still haven’t called your name? Me? Boom! Instant entertainment! I just switch on the ol’ television in my head, and I’m good for hours.
Of course, there’s a downside. While fun is more vivid in my head, so is fear. I had to stop watching shows like Criminal Minds and Law & Order, especially while my hubby was away on deployment. Also, I often expect events to be different than they are (a.k.a. impossibly perfect). For example, last spring, the state required me to take a first aid course for my childcare registration. In my idealistic, perfect world imagination, I pictured the class practicing myriad bandaging, splinting, and stabilization methods. I smiled happily as I envisioned a cheerful, expert instructor circulating around the room, complimenting me on my fabulous technique as he/she taught the class everything we needed to know to staunch the bleeding and be heroes.
In reality, I sat by myself in front of a cheesy video for two hours, learning how to keep an injured person still while calling 9-1-1. Not the highlight of my weekend, I assure you. So, even though I often end up being disappointed when my mundane life doesn’t live up to my daydreams, it’s no big stretch for me to imagine up an entire plot line either. Getting it all into words, with a coherent story, realistic dialogue, and compelling description? Now that’s the hard part.