While the kids aren’t sleeping …

Hmmm, not much sleeping this week therefore not much blogging, writing or anything else for that matter.  Lots of thinking time though, in between settling babies, which is never a bad thing. 

In my thinking time I started to wonder about imagination and how much books contribute to developing and sustaining our imaginations.  My eldest daughter, who is four years old, would spend all day if she could re-enacting scenes from books we have been reading.  Her favourite for this week is to pretend to be Bobbie, from The Railway Children, waving her red petticoats in the air to stop the train, which she does successfully before she falls down in a faint.  It is then my job to revive her by taking her to a first class carraige on the train, giving her water to drink and then holding a ceremony to award her bravery, before finally presenting her with a gold watch.  We play this game over and over, every day, and she never gets bored with it.  My two year old then begins to copy her sister and I have to play the same game all over again with her.  Last week, she was re-enacting Sleeping Beauty and next week it will be a different book again.  She is quite clearly processing and understanding aspects of life different to her own and enjoying her ability to be somebody else through story.

So I began to think I was incredibly lucky, both as a writer and as a mother, to still be able to spend time in the realm of the imaginary, a realm to which I imagine many adults do not have a chance to escape unless they are reading a book.  I know that when I have an idea for a book it is because I have come across something that I need to process and understand and I am able to do this in my writing, in the same way my daughter does while she plays.  And whilst I don’t actually become someone else while I’m writing – I’m not sure I’d want to be any of my characters anyway! – I at least have the chance to empathise with situations that are different to my own as I imagine them and write them down.  So here’s to reading and playing and imagining!

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