Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I wish I was a punk rocker...

Uh...not really, specially not if punk rockers wear flowers in their hair? I don't know about you but I was always under the impression that punk rockers were a violent, rowdy crew who released a lot of great music and had a fashion sense and style that was completely their own.

I'm more interested in the wish part of that song. I know that we all, at one time or another, wish we were something different. Or someone different. For a lot of my childhood I was desperate to believe that I was secretly adopted and that I was actually from a parallel universe or from space.* Seriously. I used to create all these scenarios when I was younger such as my true birth parents being exiled to Earth to escape the evil family raised from the volcanoes.

I would spend hours on our farm, leading the dog and the donkey on epic adventures in which I would try to find my way back home so I could fight in the war that my parents had to flee from.** It helped in that my parents were pretty easy going and didn't care that I would jump into the creek and them wander across the small swamp only to arrive home completely covered in mud and, more than likely, pig excrement. Well, as long as I didn't mind being subjected to the outside shower that only had one temperature - freezing your arse off cold.

When I got a bit older I wasn't as active in my quests but my imagination was just as big. By the time I was thirteen I was already reading Stephen King's Carrie, It and The Stand. Each of these books were good in their own way though I have to admit, Mr King can start a great story but, as with the latter two books, the endings sometimes let you down. (Spoiler alert: intergalactic spider...)

But these books lent their ideas to my imagination and I would often wonder what I would do if I survived a plague or if I stumbled upon an evil, shape-shifting clown that was terrorising children. I'm pretty sure I even wrote down survival plans and even found myself hording the occasional stash of food just in case. Unfortunately, I would get hungry and eat my stash.

I'm not really sure why I'm talking about this but I do think it has something to do with teaching English, where imagination is important. (Oh and definitely can't be a good writer without a great imagination.) But it also has something to do with my observations while at work or at school. Is it just me or are a lot of children today lacking in the imagination department? Not all of them, mind you, but there seems to be a good portion of my students who don't like reading or anything to do with imagining scenarios. This does present a challenge when teaching them because you have to be able to imagine different scenes or create new ones.

In saying all this, though, I am definitely up to the challenge. I've got a selection of graphic novels on stand by and a pile of Neil Gaiman at the ready. If you think I'm going to beat an imagination into my students you're right...

So - what kind of imaginative games did you play when you were younger?

*Thus proving that I should really stick to writing.
**The dog's name was Jess and the donkey was Millie. We still have Millie and she is just as cantankerous as ever but she likes me. I'm the only one she's never bitten.


  1. I honestly don't remember playing imaginative games. I read a ton, rode my bike and explored the neighborhood. We had train tracks in the woods and creeks nearby so it was a blast. I read the Godfather at 13 and it was awesome. We have much in common.

  2. no time for imagination...too busy playing video games.

  3. @ Bouncin' Barb - it's all about reading the most adult books at a young age. Having train tracks nearby must have been so much fun.

    @-E- fair enough. Video games have their place and I'm rather guilty of that as well. Wonderboy on the Commadore 64.

  4. Three words for you: Cardboard box fort.