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As a child I could easily suspend reality and believe that a flying bear in my dreams could sprinkle fairy dust over me, and then taking my hand float me away from my sadness. Flying over the familiar dry fields that surrounded my home in California was an effortless and very real thing to do. I believed without hesitation that my toys came to life when I wasn’t looking, and when a bit older, that the stories on the Twilight Zone must have some basis in truth.
Toy Story is a perfect example of this animistic view. The sense that objects can move unbidden, for good or evil intent, is a natural phase of our growth and understanding of what is real or unreal in our natural world. When we are very young we are certain that our toys can move and objects that scare us can come to life. Then when we were about 7 to 10 years old we knew better, and yet, we could freely suspend reality to get into a good fantasy and believe, if for only a while, that it was true.
I am a grown-up. And although I am certain that the truth of the matter is this:
Inanimate objects do not move or have life.
I nevertheless do imagine it at times.
And I ask you:
Is a flight of fanciful imagination now and again such a bad thing?
Disney certainly never believed it was a detriment to our maturity.
Anaisa Franco doesn’t think so either. In her feature on the Creators Project she seeks this very thing. She brings life to her thoughts and the inanimate objects she creates through her art.
For my taste she borders on the scary side of animism, but I still like her work!
This video keeps disappearing on me, I don’t have any explanation for it, the code just spontaneously combusts! If it happens again, then please go HERE to view it on Youtube. Thank you! 🙂
And so it is, that I still carry some vague notion that my little statues in the garden are somehow endued with a life that is unseen. And although I have never really seen them move, save through the eyes in the back of my head… I do enjoy these fantastical slips into childhood, and then pen them to paper in my stories.
For over ten years I have had a little trio of friends in my gardens. They are a lion I named Aslan, and a mother squirrel with baby. They traveled almost 3,000 miles with me from California when we moved.
Over the years the little guy happily sat with his mother in the shadow of Aslan. Knowing no fear he stood bravely by when the Big Dog came barking and growling fiercely at him and his mother. He remained stalwart when taking insults from the other squirrels, who often pushed him over, and then waited patiently for me to come by and set him right again.
And so it was this morning, that I was taken aback when I found my little squirrel’s head laying crushed in the stone drive.
He is not real,
He is plastic,
and yet I find him eerie to look at in this state.
What do you imagine happened to Rocket?
Your version can be firmly rooted in reality or you can take the fantasy stance. It is your choice.
NOTES: In my writing I freely use animistic, and animism to relate to my childhood feeling that inanimate objects could move under their own power, and thus had a life of their own. In one sense of the word, Merriam Webster defines it in this way:
“[the] attribution of conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature or to inanimate objects”