What was Fantasy for you today?

Did you complete your assignment?…one was never given.

It is not just about reading stories, it is about living them…being them. Every turn in the road is an opportunity to apply imagination. To Be. It goes ever on and on.

Surely, reading the great stories gives inspiration. Vital inspiration. Specific emotional colors and solutions to complex problems, like formulas. We must carry them with us. We must use them to deal with situations in our lives that arise, and apply extraordinary imagination to ‘ordinary’ challenges.

What is ‘ordinary’ other than the failure to apply imagination?…or just forgetting to.

Sometimes we forget, that is alright, just take a breath and think of your favorite imaginative world or a character that you identify with…maybe one you have created for yourself. No one else has to know the meaning of your quiet smirk, distant look or oddly-placed sigh.

They don’t have to know that when the professor or teacher pauses to find a page in their text, your mind shot off to middle earth or the mirror universe, or that when the staff meeting takes a vacant turn, your imagination took flight and gained inspiration in Prydain or the planet Tir’whol…but they will see/hear that when it is your turn to speak, you are vitalized, there is an extra spark to your voice and that you might say things that inspire their imaginations. Perhaps you surprise them with a turn of phrase that hints of things that are ‘beyond the fields they know’, and with a flavor of Legolas or Captain Jack Sparrow.

Some will wrinkle their nose and look away. Perhaps they rejected that part of themselves long ago. The intimation of imaginative realms that somehow came out in your speech about ordinary things challenged their decision to embrace ordinariness. Just smile and feel sorry for them. They are lost, but at least their reaction shows that there is memory of lost things that may be recovered.

Another may give you a dark look, or a dangerous vacant smile…they may even make a cutting remark, take care…this may be your enemy. The enemies of imagination are real and rampant. They may be conversant with ‘that hideous strength’ C.S. Lewis writes of in the third book of his Perelandra Series.

Read it and be prepared.

Others, however, may recognize a member of their tribe, and with them you may have fellowship.

At the very least you have survived the onslaught of ordinariness and can step out into the sunlight, or the murky rain-filled landscape beyond the buildings where you spent most of your day, and you may continue your adventure. You’ve survived Mordor, this was nothing.

Just be sure to take notes.

As for me, in the patient Mrs. Elrond’s sixth grade class many years ago, I completely ignored class altogether. Ignored it and read, over and over, The Lord Of The Rings. Mrs. Elrond took up the books once and was frustrated, but very kind and gentle about it.

When ‘book report time’ came. I stood up and read major passages from the Lord Of The Rings, one from each book; from The Fellowship Of The Ring I read the adventure from The Chamber of Mazarbul in Moria, from The Two Towers, Helm’s Deep, and from The Return Of The King I remember reading the battle between Sam and Shelob with great passion.

It was literally the only time my classmates heard my voice all year long.

After that Mrs. Elrond gave me a pass. She got the point.

That was my sixth grade. That and my dog Pranya waiting for me everyday as I left school to walk home. She was a black cockerpoodle, so smart. I’d give her a big smooch right on the mouth and the other kids would go ‘ewww’…but I knew who my friends were, in this case canine.

Times were different then, especially in the deep south.

Anyone else have similar experiences?


  1. P. Groh


    I thought about this recently while watching an old Heckle and Jeckle cartoon called “The Power of Thought”. The two magpies come to the realisation that, as cartoon characters, they can turn their fantasies into reality at will. “Just think about it, and it happens!” In so doing they run afoul of a bulldog policeman, demonstrating that fantasy is inherently anti-authoritarian and subversive, and therefore, at the same time, liberating. The policeman captures them in the end, but only by harnessing the power of fantasy for himself.

    I like Heckle and Jeckle. Also Mighty Mouse. Especially when he sings opera.

    • Reply

      Love it – Hello — (trying to get this field to change color… 🙂 — Is mighty mouse the fellow Andy Kaufman incorporated into his act?… Fantastic example… like when Tolkien says – to paraphrase – “Of course Fantasy is escapist… is it not the duty of someone to escape prison and take as many as he can with him?” – Heckle and Jeckle – American Hunduism… but Vishnu or Azathoth?… maybe both….but more fun.

      • P. Groh


        Yes, Andy Kaufman infamously lip-synched to a Mighty Mouse record in the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975. “Mister Trouble never hangs around when he hears that mighty sound: ‘Here I come to save the day!'” Mighty Mouse’s singing voice was provided by tenor Roy Halee, whose son, Roy Halee Jr., produced all of Simon & Garfunkel’s records. I don’t think Andy Kaufman ever lip-synched to those, but you never know.

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