MOST CHILDREN ARE BORN WITH AN INNATE ABILITY TO PLAY AND IMAGINE A WORLD THAT IS SPECIAL TO THEM. That is, fantasy is a big part of their lives. Children have this ability to change their world with play— until gradually, and ever so slowly with the passing of years, that ability to play and fantasize is drummed out of them by the realities of becoming older.
When I was kid in grade school, I would often be singled out for day dreaming, when all I was doing was thinking about, say, the pencil trough on my desk as... a long trench for an imaginary army. “Wha-a-a-at? Oh-h yes, Miss Ammons, oh... I’m sorry, read the next paragraph? O.K. Let’s seee-e?” I was clueless, and busted. It happened all the time. Am I going to blame it on ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)? Nope. I blame it on the fact that I was born, like many others, with a different way of seeing the world.
Doctor: “Mrs. Foster, we’ve completed the tests on your son. Why don’t you have a seat.”
Mom: “Well-ll, is he O.K? Why the look? Wha-a-at?”
Doctor: “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Foster. Johnny was born............ artistic.”
Mom: “Oh-h my Gawrd! Can he be cured?”
Doctor: “Well, Mrs. Foster— though rare, a few of these children often grow out of this affliction and lead successful but frustrated lives. We think the best course of action is simply to leave Johnny in the public school system. There, some of these kids like your son—we call them “artistic children”— will learn to conform, to understand math, and eventually perhaps— find a job in industry, or sales. Now, I have to be honest and tell you that some never do come out of this. Our research has shown that a large percentage of these children actually enjoy being artistic—they enjoy being different! I know, I know, don’t cry... there, there Mrs. Foster. We could try electric shock!”
Thank goodness, those of us who are artists (usually) understand and come to embrace the artistic life. And hopefully, these people have gone on to a lifetime in the arts—as poets, writers, dancers, musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, architects, graphic designers, model-makers and so many other things which give life to our fantasies.
Vincent Bousserez is a photographer who has a Flickr page of his fantasy world. Thank goodness, he has never stopped learning to fantasize and play. His is a tiny world inhabited by tiny people. I love his world. It’s fun. And as Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) on “30 Rock” once said: “I want to go to there.”