I wanted to share a post that my dear friend Greg Morton wrote as a guest blogger. It is such an amazing piece and it reflects a lot of the things that I love about daydreaming and using our imagination. Thank you for sharing this with me and my readers, Greg.
A Journey of the Imagination – Greg Morton
I was sitting in my backyard, late in the afternoon, as the setting sun streaked through trees and onto the ground. It was warm, but with a slight breeze. It was perfect for daydreaming. I could have been seven or eight or twelve. This was just the other day.
I’ve been around long enough to remember life before cable television and the internet in every home, that is to say that I’m no spring chicken. But the other day was just too perfect to pass up an opportunity to daydream. And daydreaming is one of my favorite activities.
It started early. I have a brother who is three years my senior, and though we are very close now that hasn’t always been the case. While for others siblings may have been great for playing together, my brother and I were too competitive. Playing always turned into one-upsmanship, which turned into a brawl. Often we were volunteered to play in our own rooms by our mother.
And I didn’t have many friends. I think it was circumstance more than anything else, but so many years later who can really tell? Needless to say, I became resourceful with my entertainment and quite content to adventure into the world of daydreams and pretend.
But my days were filled with life before television, and though the pool in the backyard provided hours of adventure and imagination, there are only so many scenarios an eight year old can conjure on his own. Luckily I was able to find endless destinations within the pages of books.
Comics were always a great source of fiction, but quite honestly the genre interfered with my love for Saturday morning cartoons. If I spent a couple of hours in front of the TV on the weekends then my desire to indulge in comics during the week waned. Instead, I found the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books the most engaging.
Not only did the CYOA books take me to far off places I’d never been before, but they were interactive. I had a say in the story! A few hours a week getting lost in the mountains, the forests or the Sahara desert and come the weekend my imagination was fully charged. I could venture out into the backyard and pretend my way through the day until dinnertime. Nothing was better.
As I grew older, the encyclopedia of dreams and stories I had been collecting in my head became the basis for my own ideas and storytelling. Soon I was sitting at lunch during school and creating alternate worlds, villains and dangers. My adventures at home became limitless.
That process continues today. I am still a voracious reader. I’ve graduated from reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, but I haven’t graduated from dreaming up new ideas on how to finish stories or using elements from stories as the foundation for an idea of my own. My love for a world where I could create anything I could imagine had become so grand that I felt it only natural to become a novelist.
My most recent work not only takes me back to the days of imagining a world with creatures and magic and wonderful adventures, but it also pays homage to where my love of reading began. On the laps of my parents. I chose to write a book that parents will want to read, and will want to read with their kids. It is a book of fantasy and adventure. It is a book that will take readers on a journey.
A journey of the imagination.
It is my sincerest hope that we don’t ever lose sight of the importance of the imagination. That as adults, we carry the torch of teaching our children to read and to explore. Literacy is an invaluable tool in cognitive reasoning and problem solving. Reading is pretty darn fun, too…
I still daydream. While waiting for the train or sitting outside or sometimes even when I’m stuck in traffic. I imagine people and places that could only exist in a made up world. It’s a creative outlet, and as a writer it’s an essential element to my ability to conjure up a story. But my daydreaming has its foundation in reading, and without reading I am truly lost.