Tuesday 10 April 2012

I is for Imagination

I firmly believe we are all born with imagination, and that it is gradually stamped out of us ( often by school, which ought to know better). Are the imaginary friends beloved of small children any less real to them than 'real' people? Does a child with a doll see an artifice, or a baby? I know my dolls were pretty real to me, and I remember repeatedly explaining to them how it happened that only one of them was black, even though they were all my babies ( too complicated to go into here).

My youngest son, Joe, had a tribe of imaginary friends, and got furious if, for example, we shut the door and left one outside. Sometimes, he actually became one of them, the favourite being Bob. One afternoon we had this surreal conversation ( he can't have been more than three at the time, if that):

Me: Come on, Joe. Time for your rest.
Joe I'm not Joe. I'm Bob.
Me: Okay. Come on, Bob. Time for your rest.
Joe/Bob: I'm not sleeping in Joe's bed!

But life soon puts paid to this kind of thing. Just as well, really, since I would just have had Joe, Bob and his/ their girlfriend staying over Easter. Which might have been complicated.


  1. Yes, who would have slept in whose bed then? :-D

    Your explanation to your dolls about their skin colour would be really interesting to know - are you sure you don't want to tell us?

  2. Spending time with my grandson helps me regain my imagination. Last year we searched for a wormhole at a Roman amphitheatre so we could go back in time. I suddenly discovered I was really looking for one!

  3. I'm interested in your opening comment because I am one of the least imaginative of people (possibly having something to do with being unable generally to hold images in my head) but when I was a small child I did imagine 'things' in the dark. Or perhaps I really saw them. I believed I did.

  4. Lovely post Frances. Listening to Jessi (my five year old who has an amazing amount of imaginary friends) can be quite amusing. It also reminds me of my childhood and my imaginary world. Oh (sigh) imagination is a wonderful thing!

  5. Completely agree about children and their natural imagination - and curiosity. And yes, it's often school (or unimaginative parents) that knocks it out of them.

    Love your throwaway comment about Joe/Bob - it's your humour that adds a delicious twist (in a nice way) to your posts, Frances!

  6. Librarian, re the beds, don't ask! As for the black doll explanation, it really is too complicated. Maybe one day...

    Lynne, your'e right. Grandchildren refresh the imagination, don't they!

    GB, you've had your imagination stamped out. Like most of us, you probably went to the wrong school.

    Daine, that's true. And imagination is why we all write, isn't it.

    Rosemary, thank you. I rather miss Bob, even now. Other friends included someone called Chain, and Chain's grandmother, who used a skateboard. I never quite got to grips with Chain.