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Sunday, October 01, 2006


Early inner life

Hello all,

Right, I'm off on holiday. I'm going to Japan, Sydney and New York, and I'm going to be gone for a month. It'll be a month where I shall seek out computers to keep posting, but there may be some times when I'm trapped on a tour bus or marooned in the outback, lamenting my inability to communicate with you . . .

So, in the meantime, do talk amongst yourselves. To which end, I have a question for everyone, and I'd love to hear from as many people as possible:

In childhood, what was your inner landscape like?

Talking to people, it seems that some, at least, had very specific locations for their fantasy lives -not necessarily as elaborate as Angria or Gondal, but a general trend towards place types.

When I was a child, my inner landscape was an English woodland, though I wouldn't have put such a precise name to it back then. I wasn't one of those girls who imagined being a princess or a pop star: I wanted to be a fox, an otter, a deer. If I reach back in my mind, I find that place still there: brown oak leaves covering the ground, with dark earth peeping through; towering trees with ivy on them; shallow green streams with clicking pebbles and cool, swift currents; bars of gold sunlight slanting through the canopy. Of course, it wasn't the only daydream I had, but something about it captures the texture of my childhood fantasies, and looking back, I remember it in the same way I remember my old bedroom, my primary school classroom: as an environment that has a definite place in my memories.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, says that, probably due to his fondness for Saturday morning cartoons, his inner landscape was a ruined city, an urban wasteland with monsters hiding in the rubble. Not, I should add, a nightmare city, just a fairly stark one with a lot of interesting creatures and grotesques. Another friend tells me that her landscapes, while varied, tended to revolve around the notion of a hidden door, a secret entrance or exit that would take you from one world to another. Both of them are creative people, and you can see clear signs of their initial dreamworlds in their work nowadays. The same thing happened with me, I think: proofreading my first novel, I was surprised to note how obsessed with trees I was. The story kept returning to parks, and descriptions recurred of bark, of grass underfoot, of leaves, of specific breeds of tree.

So what's yours? Did your dreamworlds vary, or was there a particular kind of place you kept coming back to? And what was it like?

My inner landscape was a forest too. I never pictured it that well, being a city kid, but I remember just being surrounded by green. I was never an animal, I was just by myself.

In reality, I shared a room with two brothers (this was young kidhood), so I guess I just wanted my own space.
"In childhood, what was your inner landscape like?"

Mine was a dungeon filled with interesting monsters.
I can't think of one single inner landscape, I think it varied with the story, and a lot of those were based on myths and fairytales.
On the other hand, my husband used to daydream ordinary places (rooms in houses etc) with such thoroughness he'd get so bogged down in the details that he'd never get onto the story.
Interesting. Do you think they had an effect on your imaginations or creative endeavours as an adult?
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