Archive | 1:02 am

Release Your Imaginative Inner Child

1 Jun
It may look like an old flatbed trailer, but to a child's imagination it could be anything.

It may look like an old flatbed trailer, but to a child’s imagination it could be anything.

When I was young we stayed with some family for a year. It was an interesting time in my childhood.

You see, my great-grandfather (on my mother’s side) had been a farmer. So on that piece of property were all kinds of old junked out equipment for us to turn into cool toys.

There was a huge piece of galvanize steel pipe. Tall enough that we could walk through, and just long enough to shelter the four of us when it rained. Because heaven forbid we should go inside for something as piddly as a spring shower.

There were old abandoned kitchen chairs which could be fixed up just enough for us to use in our little hide-out on a tiny island in the center of the small swamp. We were all light enough at the time that we could walk along carefully flattened trails of grass and cattail reeds. Anyone weighing more than about 90 pounds would have sunk nearly to their knees in insidiously sticky swamp water.

One of the more versatile ‘toys’ was a large, wooden flat bed off an old trailer. Long gone were the tires, and the frame sat pathetically on the ground, but to us it had limitless potential.

This old trailer became anything we imagined, and because it was old and friendly it did it happily. Through an average week it was the bridge of a pirate ship and a star ship, the stage for a sappy opera, a raft adrift in storm tossed waters, and a hospital ward.

We got good use out of that old thing. And if I’m not adding too much anthropomorphic flare on it, I do believe that old trailer enjoyed being a part of our play.

Today I am boggled by the average child’s lack of imagination. Where is the old game of “The floor is Lava!!!”? Do they even play cartoon freeze tag anymore? Are they even allowed to play pirate anymore? I’m pretty sure Cowboys and Indians has been ruled Politically Incorrect.

What will our future books and movies consist of? How would our young fare if a sun flare knocked out their game consoles?

Enough with that rabbit trail. My main point is…

Writers need an active imagination. So it is important to exercise it on a regular basis. No, I am not suggesting you get up a game of tag with local eight year olds. (they would likely label you as something which could get you in a lot of hot water)

I am suggesting that you find animals in clouds. Think through strange What If situations. Read as often as your busy adult schedule will allow. Anything that gets your mind thinking of something besides normal, every day…stuff.

Give it a try. What can you lose? A few moments of your time? At least they might be happy moments.

Or not.


Here’s to the boundless imagination and creativity of childhood, and may we never let it go.

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What were some crazy things You got up to as a child?

Have those memories or skills helped you in your adult life?