Somewhere between the Land of Make-Believe and the Place of Reality is a space called Imagination. It is where a cat may simply be a cat – or it could be a smiling, striped, disappearing cat. It is a place where a yellow brick road may be a path of yellow bricks or a flashy political indictment. It is where you can find wild things and heroes and monsters and godmothers.
It is beyond the Land of Make-Believe where children ascribe characteristics of being to beloved stuffed toys, friends, and even themselves. It is beyond the dress-up box. It is through the play fort. It is past the dragon’s lair. This place is not always so clearly defined in good and evil or right and wrong. It trespasses the well-meaning boundaries of parental supervision.
In the Land of Make-Believe you pretend. In the Place of Reality you know. In Imagination you create and rearrange and color and design and become what could be known.
The Place of Reality is inhabited by grown-ups. They fret and worry and furrow and bury. They know too much of what is good and evil and right and wrong, but they are too flustered to call out much of it. They celebrate kindness and goodness and light, but they find it increasingly difficult to cultivate it themselves. They use words and phrases like portfolio and manage expectations and just in case. The Place of Reality slowly confines them to a pragmatic sphere of existence that is neither great and glorious nor awful and bad. Unless.
Unless as a child their time in the Land of Make-Believe that took them to Imagination was nurtured to be boundless and delightful. Then, and especially then, their trips from the Place of Reality to Imagination lead them to possibilities. If as a child they found compassion and beauty in befriending common gray spiders who say “salutations,” or bravery and purpose in accepting great power and responsibility then their visits to Imagination will yield ideas that are kind and powerful.