Group Writing: In My Imagination

 

When I was a little girl, I often was conscious of living life in my imagination. I might be walking up the driveway from the school bus in reality, but in my imagination I had suddenly become Aragorn the Ranger, and my noisy siblings just ahead of me probably couldn’t even see or sense my stealthy, long-legged presence behind them.

I might be trailing through the mall behind my mother as we boringly shopped the sales for school shoes, but in my imagination I was Laura Ingalls, providing a running commentary on everything of any interest around us for my blind sister Mary.

Usually, this was harmless, but the day that in my imagination I was Louis Braille, learning how to negotiate the world with no sight, I ended up falling down the basement stairs and giving myself a concussion. I learned a couple of things that day. First, and most important, that the stairs are a little closer than I thought they were to the kitchen door. Second, that careful observation does not mean familiarity with. Sometimes we are completely clueless about things we see all the time or think we know very well. Pay attention!

As I got older, I often faced problems as I imagined my heroes or heroines would have done. As a serious-minded Catholic, I have been trained to look to the life of Christ but also his saints for inspiration on how to live correctly, and I also look to the characters in my imagination. How would they react to certain things? What would they do?

As a middle-aged woman, my imagination feels a lot less nimble than it did when I was 10. I cannot inhabit a character in my own head the way I could then, although I still love playacting and reading aloud, because it gives me a chance to do voices of various characters, which I excell at.

Rather than live as the characters in my imagination, I have become their companion. They are like a crowd of friends in the back my head, offering commentary on my actions. I find myself concerned over what they might think of me as I make choices in my life. Am I a character my favorite characters would like or admire?

There are 23 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Sounds to me like the Characters in your mind are Christ like in their outlook. So glad you have such virtuous friends.

    When I was a boy, I imagined my bike was an airplane. I would race down the street and take off. Then circle the neighborhood as all the girls looked on starry eyed . ūüėä

    • #1
  2. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Well, I also imagined I was a horse (I could run like the wind with my mane and tail flying!), or a lion (I could stalk unseen through the undergrowth), but I don’t think I ever was an airplane. The kitchen stool was my and my sister’s car though (we’d tip it on its side and use the seat as our steering wheel).

    Kitchen Furniture Vintage Industrial Bar Stools √ʬĬĒ Cabinet Hardware Room

     

     

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    When I am bored on the freeway and am not listening to a book, I imagine I have some ancient character (like Julius Caesar) sitting behind me and that I need to explain this modern world to him and answer his questions.¬† But it doesn’t work, because he soon figures out he’s riding in a rather pedestrian vehicle. He wants to get out and ride with whoever is driving the flashiest, fastest vehicle on the road, instead.¬†¬†

    • #3
  4. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When I am bored on the freeway and am not listening to a book, I imagine I have some ancient character (like Julius Caesar) sitting behind me and that I need to explain this modern world to him and answer his questions. But it doesn’t work, because he soon figures out he’s riding in a rather pedestrian vehicle. He wants to get out and ride with whoever is driving the flashiest, fastest vehicle on the road, instead.

    Who do you talk to when you’re on your bike?

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Oh, this is joyful.


    This conversation is an entry in the long line of the Group Writing Series. Our theme for June is Now That’s Imagination!, where we get to peek into the minds of other people. If you would like to share your stories of imagination from your childhood or from the present, or just share a story you made up, our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits you.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When I am bored on the freeway and am not listening to a book, I imagine I have some ancient character (like Julius Caesar) sitting behind me and that I need to explain this modern world to him and answer his questions. But it doesn’t work, because he soon figures out he’s riding in a rather pedestrian vehicle. He wants to get out and ride with whoever is driving the flashiest, fastest vehicle on the road, instead.

    Who do you talk to when you’re on your bike?

    I’m not sure. There are usually too many other things to think about, and I can’t imagine being bored. But twenty years ago when I made one of my first history rides into Indiana, on the 3rd day I wanted to visit the village of Haw Patch. I had old 19th century plat maps with places marked on them, and my head was filled with images and stories from settler days. I kind of forgot what century I was in, and on arriving in Topeka (the name of the village ever since the railroad came through) and was brought up short¬† – almost offended – on seeing modern homes and vehicles instead of log cabins with smoke curling out the chimneys. It’s not that Topeka is a normal town. There is an RV factory on the west end of town, but it’s a very Amish town in a very Amish region, though not a tourist destination like another Amish town in the same county. There were plenty of signs of horses and buggies on the road, though it was Sunday morning and there was no actual traffic. At one corner there was a dead horse, an apparent victim of a vehicular accident. I felt like Rip Van Winkle, wondering what had happened to Haw Patch. I rode all around the town, but there was no sign of it.¬† Finally, north of the RV factory, I came to a residence with a hand-painted sign that said, “Haw Patch Buggy Repair,” and I felt vindicated. Somebody else still knew of this place as Haw Patch.

    I have since learned about Haw Patch Road that leads from La Grange in the general direction of Topeka, and it is one of my favorite places to ride.¬† It’s a winding road through farmland that is almost entirely Amish. Once I came over a rise and met an oncoming team of work horses. They were in harness, but not pulling anything.¬† A young Amish father, with a baby in arms, was walking behind his young son, who held the reins, and was giving him quiet directions on how to drive the team. I didn’t stop to take a photo as I didn’t want to interrupt what I was seeing and it probably wouldn’t have been appreciated, anyway, so just soaked up the scene in the few seconds I had to enjoy it.¬†¬†

    Another thing about imagination on the road.¬† The Michigan International Speedway is built on a site of historical interest – a stopping point on road the settler militias had taken on their way west toward Chicago during the 1832 Black Hawk War.¬† The whole highway is of interest, as it was first the Sauk Trail, the road that Indians had taken from the Mississippi River to join with the British at Detroit to fight the Americans during the War of 1812, and later became a territorial military road between Detroit and Chicago, and soon after the route by which settlers poured into southwest Michigan. There are a lot of old Greek Revival homes along it. Except in Hillsdale County, it’s a great place to ride. (In Hillsdale County it’s a lot more rideable now than it used to be, but the shoulders are not very wide.)¬† There are wide paved shoulders near the Speedway, but I try not to go there during a race event.¬† It is well patrolled by police, but there are too many car drivers who have a “vroom, vroom” mentality to make it a comfortable place for bicycling at those times.¬† I try to avoid being the accidental victim of some driver’s overactive imagination. ¬† ¬†

    • #6
  7. Chris O. Coolidge
    Chris O.
    @ChrisO

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I have since learned about Haw Patch Road that leads from La Grange in the general direction of Topeka, and it is one of my favorite places to ride. It’s a winding road through farmland that is almost entirely Amish.

    The whole highway is of interest, as it was first the Sauk Trail, the road that Indians had taken from the Mississippi River to join with the British at Detroit to fight the Americans during the War of 1812, and later became a territorial military road between Detroit and Chicago, and soon after the route by which settlers poured into southwest Michigan.

    I’ve driven through LaGrange countless times. I used to take US 20 over to our lake house (Lake George, IN/MI) from Chicago, and we were regular visitors to the flea market in Shipshewana when I was growing up. That’s all still my (weekend) neck of the woods.

    One other historical user of that route was John Dillinger, who used to lay up in Steuben County when the heat was on. There used to be a photo of his gang hanging out at the Lake George Retreat, but unfortunately the restaurant recently burned down.

    Your other route, US 12, between Coldwater and Ann Arbor was the road Mom and Dad took when Dad was in law school in Ann Arbor way back when, and so we drove it whenever we visited. Beautiful drive. Thanks for sharing its historical significance!

    • #7
  8. Susan McDaniel Inactive
    Susan McDaniel
    @SusanMcDaniel

    This is an awesome post! When I was little I slept in an antique brass bed, but when I was awake, that bed was a spaceship, a royal carriage, a car, and an abundance of things. And outside in the yard, the sidewalks were docks and I was in a boat (I grew up in the mountains, no where near water, so this was really imaginary), and Mom provided me with the proper tools, so when I played in the mud, I could make mud pies, cakes and other such things. Oh! The imagination of a child is a wonderful thing!

     

    • #8
  9. Susan McDaniel Inactive
    Susan McDaniel
    @SusanMcDaniel

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When I am bored on the freeway and am not listening to a book, I imagine I have some ancient character (like Julius Caesar) sitting behind me and that I need to explain this modern world to him and answer his questions. But it doesn’t work, because he soon figures out he’s riding in a rather pedestrian vehicle. He wants to get out and ride with whoever is driving the flashiest, fastest vehicle on the road, instead.

    I do the exact same thing! My passenger is usually Leonardo Di Vinci ;-)

    • #9
  10. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Susan McDaniel (View Comment):
    When I was little I slept in an antique brass bed, but when I was awake, that bed was a spaceship, a royal carriage, a car, and an abundance of things.

    Have you read Bedknob and Broomstick? They made a movie based on it as well, with Angela Lansbury.

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Susan McDaniel (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    When I am bored on the freeway and am not listening to a book, I imagine I have some ancient character (like Julius Caesar) sitting behind me and that I need to explain this modern world to him and answer his questions. But it doesn’t work, because he soon figures out he’s riding in a rather pedestrian vehicle. He wants to get out and ride with whoever is driving the flashiest, fastest vehicle on the road, instead.

    I do the exact same thing! My passenger is usually Leonardo Di Vinci ;-)

    Ooh. You picked some challenging company!

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Chris O. (View Comment):
    One other historical user of that route was John Dillinger, who used to lay up in Steuben County when the heat was on. There used to be a photo of his gang hanging out at the Lake George Retreat, but unfortunately the restaurant recently burned down.

    I didn’t know about that one, but I knew about some of the Chicago gangsters who’d hide out in the northeast part of Kosciusko County.¬† Did that Lake George Retreat used to serve a big buffet meal for Saturday breakfast? If not, it’s very close to a place where we ate in May 1999, right close to the Indiana-Michigan border, on the road that comes south from Kinderhook. Here is what I wrote about that outing for a bicycle touring list back then. The eating place is mentioned in step 20:

    Here was my experience while a couple weekends ago, on my first bike campout of the year.

    1.¬† Get to campground Thursday night.¬† Realize I forgot the tent poles for my hoop tent.¬† Call my wife to ask if she can bring them to Friday night’s campground where we’ll get together.¬† For now, use the tent as a sort of bivy sack.¬†

    2.  Late Friday afternoon:  Front tire goes flat

    3.  Walk the bike back to a mowed section of ditch so I can work without losing parts in the tall grass.

    4.  Take off front panniers.  My low-rider rack somehow makes it difficult to turn the quick release, so I unscrew the other end of the skewer thing, and promptly lose the spring in the low grass.

    5.  Give up looking for the spring.  Get to work on the tube.

    6.¬† I can’t locate the leak.¬† It’s windy, and the pump-it-up-and-put-the-tube-close-to-your-cheek method doesn’t work.¬† The hole is big enough that the tube keeps losing pressure fast.

    7.¬† Give up and get out my spare tube.¬† I’ll fix the punctured one later, in camp.

    8.  Install tube.  Put tire on rim.  Pump it up, let out air, etc. to let it seat itself properly.

    9.  Put enough air in to ride on.  Panic.  Notice the tire is not seated properly, and is being pushed way off the rim.  Notice this about 1/2 second before I can reach for the valve and relieve the pressure.   Big bang. 

    10.  The cilia in my ears gradually unflatten, and I can hear the nearby barking dog again.

    11.  My spare tube is shot.  Now I HAVE to repair the old one.  Sacrifice my remaining drinking water so I can find the leak via the bubble method in my stove pot.

    12.  Finish the repair, taking care not to blow it this time. 

    13.¬† As I ride towards the campground (20 miles yet), think about where to buy a tube tomorrow so I’ll have a spare again.¬† Grumble about the time that will be wasted.

    14.¬† Almost to campground.¬† Look down and see that my right front pannier is missing.¬† Where did I lose it?¬†¬† It was there a few miles back when I stopped to put more air in my front tire (I think).¬† A few years ago it once came lose and was flung fifty feet down an embankment where it was hard to find, but that time it had made a loud twang as the hook caught in the spokes.¬† This time I didn’t hear a thing.¬†

    15.¬† Ride to campground to enlist the use of our car to go back and search for it.¬† Think about the replacement cost of pannier, tools, jacket, camp shoes, AC adapter for my new HP Jornada computer, etc etc.¬† I’ll be cold in camp without my jacket, and I don’t dare go riding tomorrow without tools.

    16.  While waiting in long lines at campground, grumble about having to pay a vehicle fee to ride my bike into the park, when it could have gone for free if on the car.  While waiting, my wife finds me.  Dump all my gear in the car and take off to look for the pannier. 

    17.  We look until dark.  No luck. 

    18.  Get a fast-food dinner and go back to the campground to set up tent in the dark.  Suddenly realize that the pannier I lost was not the one containing tools.  It was the one containing our tent. 

    19.  Abandon our tent site ($10) and two vehicle fees ($5 for bike and $5 for car).  Go stay in a cheap motel instead ($47).  At least I have my tools and can ride tomorrow.

    20.¬† Go to buffet breakfast–all we can eat.¬† Indulge.¬† Don’t worry about putting on excess pounds. I’ll ride it all off today, anyway.¬†¬†

    21.¬† Go to bike shop in Angola, IN.¬† It’s located on the corner of the worst traffic circle I’ve ever seen (and won’t open until 10 am).¬† I’ve seen traffic circles, but this one is something else.¬† It’s in an old public square, with a big monument in the center, and shops and parking in each of the four corners.¬† What with cars entering and leaving the circle from the road and from each of the parking lots, it’s terrible.¬† And it’s right on US-20, which means this is a traffic circle with heavy semi-trailer truck traffic.¬†¬† Buy tubes and get out of there.

    22.  Spend the rest of the morning looking for pannier.  No luck.

    23.¬† 1 p.m.¬† I get ready to take off riding.¬† I notice my back tire showing signs of tread separation.¬† I’ll have to replace it soon.¬† No, it’s worse than that.¬† It already has an aneurism and I have no spare tire.¬† Give it up and drive home, mow lawn, work around the house, buy tires, feel bloated all day from that big breakfast.

    (I got a good long ride on Sunday afternoon, though.)

    One person who read this said he too had done every one of those things, but not all in one outing. 

    • #12
  13. Susan McDaniel Inactive
    Susan McDaniel
    @SusanMcDaniel

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Have you read Bedknob and Broomstick?

    No, I’ve never read it! But, I will ;-)

    • #13
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    18. Get a fast-food dinner and go back to the campground to set up tent in the dark. Suddenly realize that the pannier I lost was not the one containing tools. It was the one containing our tent.

    @ChrisO,¬† I meant to ask if you by any chance found my pannier/tent when you were at Lake George.¬† I still look for it every time I drive past there. I’ve since bought another backpacking hoop-style tent similar to that one, but the last time I used it was in 2015. Mrs R and I camped together in it until 2004, when she announced that it was getting too difficult to get in and out, and we graduated to a bigger tent. But we haven’t done any camping together since 2014. Too many old people issues — getting up in the middle of the night, etc.¬†¬†

    • #14
  15. Susan McDaniel Inactive
    Susan McDaniel
    @SusanMcDaniel

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Ooh. You picked some challenging company!

    Yes! Mostly because of my Dad. It is a long story and I should write about it ;-) But, the conversations with Leonardo are much like the conversations I had with my Dad in real life.

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Susan McDaniel (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Ooh. You picked some challenging company!

    Yes! Mostly because of my Dad. It is a long story and I should write about it ;-) But, the conversations with Leonardo are much like the conversations I had with my Dad in real life.

    Yes, you should write about it!

    • #16
  17. Susan McDaniel Inactive
    Susan McDaniel
    @SusanMcDaniel

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Too many old people issues ‚ÄĒ getting up in the middle of the night, etc.

    I posted about being a night owl today –>¬†http://ricochet.com/524639/night-owls/

    • #17
  18. Susan McDaniel Inactive
    Susan McDaniel
    @SusanMcDaniel

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Yes, you should write about it!

    I will. But, gee whiz! There is a LOT of material there.

    • #18
  19. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: As a middle-aged woman, my imagination feels a lot less nimble than it did when I was 10.

    As a geezer dude in my 60s, my imagination has skyrocketed.¬† I started writing in the mid-90s, but finally published my novels¬†on Amazon in the middle 2010s.¬† Despite my youthful disdain for all things in literature, I’ve grown to appreciate what men and women have written or performed over the years, or even the last few centuries.

    When you’re lying in bed in the early morning hours, let your imagination return,¬†especially if¬†you sort of wake up in that state of half-awake, half-asleep.¬† Then get up and grab a pen and paper.¬† Better yet, keep them by the bed.

    I’ve often gotten up in the middle of night with an idea, then snuck into the bathroom with my iPhone.¬† I dictate my thoughts (correcting all the stupid errors), then return to the bedroom knowing when I wake up, I have something wonderful to add to my stories, be it a plot twist, a new character, or an aspect of an existing character previously unknown.

    You can do it!

    • #19
  20. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad: Second, that careful observation does not mean familiarity with. Sometimes we are completely clueless about things we see all the time or think we know very well. Pay attention!

    • #20
  21. Chris O. Coolidge
    Chris O.
    @ChrisO

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    0. Go to buffet breakfast‚Äďall we can eat. Indulge. Don‚Äôt worry about putting on excess pounds. I‚Äôll ride it all off today, anyway.

    I believe you ate at Clay’s. Still there, still thriving…and still clogging arteries.

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I meant to ask if you by any chance found my pannier/tent when you were at Lake George.

    Sorry…and I still haven’t found any of the cars Dillinger supposedly sunk in the lake when going into hiding. It’s a glacial lake, 80′ deep at one point. Your tent might be down there with Dillinger’s car.

    As to the OP, which I apologize for not responding directly to, I’ve lived that experience so much, in terms of pretending and role-playing characters. Actually, it’s sort of a requirement for my work day much of the time. Wonderful post to read and find out I wasn’t the only one. Thanks, Mama Toad!!

    • #21
  22. Nanda Pajama-Tantrum Member
    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum
    @

    Howdy, MT! I grew quite conversant with ‚ÄúThe Land of Counterpane‚ÄĚ as a youngster/adolescent: Books were passports and Robert Louis Stevenson was my best imaginary friend.

    • #22
  23. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    The Land of Counterpane
       by Robert Louis Stevenson

    When I was sick and lay a-bed,
    I had two pillows at my head,
    and all my toys around me lay
    to keep me happy all the day.

    And sometimes, for an hour or so,
    I watched my leaden soldiers go
    with different uniforms and drills
    among the bedclothes, through the hills.

    And sometimes. sent my ships in fleets
    all up and down among the sheets.
    Or brought my trees and houses out
    and planted cities all about.

    I was the giant grave and still
    that sits upon the pillow hill,
    and sees before him, vale and plain
    the pleasant land of counterpane.

     

    • #23

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.