I was arguing with my brother about the pros and cons of rock climbing in real life vs in a video game. At the time, the answer seemed obvious and one sided to me as I was neutral at best about gaming and had recently started climbing a lot. It was also around that time that I hardly watched TV - to the point that if I was visiting family and they turned on a movie, I felt compelled to leave the room and go work on a project. I had such a dedication to the idea that surely the world would be better off if everyone could grapple with reality - the idea of living in and out of fantasies seemed silly. I had an ancestor who was a farmer and his wife thought he read too much - believing it drove them into poverty.
However, it has only taken a few years of living with children that I see how fruitless and pointless my pursuit of reality was. Would that farmer have really been better off without the books? Or was he coping with his unavoidable circumstances as best as he could? I have found joy as my own daughter takes up the same habit of my youth - creating fictional mothers to replace me. My own first fictional mother was “Pit Bottom”. A merciless woman who made me sweep dirt all day, chop fire wood, and eat only chocolate pudding. Julia never names her new mothers - but in the stories I am always assumed to be passed on or missing.
This is only the tip of the iceberg that is the endless array of storytelling and musical narrating of the fantasy world the babies live in. When I am taking Boris to school and he is ready to enter wizard school - not preschool. When Julia goes to bed at night, she might be found wearing a baseball hat and shoes. She is ready for a midnight adventure she is waiting for that she will certainly sleep through. As a parent it seems cruel to pop these bubbles. I know some of them must be popped (the sweet dream of flying) but not all of them.
So my question this past year has been - what fictional joys can I embrace and introduce back to my life? What coping mechanisms do I need - because I am only ready to admit, nearing thirty, that I need coping mechanisms. What stories nourished me and gave me motivation and context for my life as a child? Don’t I still need those now?
Humans were made to tell and live by stories. Of course we don’t want to become controlled by them or lose our sense of reality… but when I think of being 7 years old I am not just 7 years old. I am at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry in my parent’s basement, being 7 years old. And when I think back to being 27, I don’t want to just be 27 sitting in a kitchen doing dishes. I want to be 27 performing for Carnegie Hall in my kitchen doing dishes.
What narratives have been powerful for you in your life? What movies or stories really moved you - and maybe even totally changed the way you perceived yourself or the situation you were in? I feel like a new baby of fiction right now so please email or text about it because I would love to hear other peoples experiences.
The idea of Kiki (Klyemene) LaPomme finally coming to fruition was definitely a result of post pandemic life. A desperation to see something that seemed out of reach - a woman that transcended her life and do whatever she wanted and be exactly how she pleased. I was so bogged down in day to day demands. Kiki is not happening every time I expect to perform, or even would I ask anyone to call me by the name. Perhaps she will exist just in art making, and Pigimichi. Nevertheless her existence as a character in my mind has opened up a gate to me that for a long time I labeled as : fantasy world. I am trying to make it mingle with reality now. But the beauty of fiction is that the unreality is what captivates us and changes us - it never needs to come to fruition. However I suspect that my dreams are much more likely to surface in day to day life as I act out these imaginings as opposed to keeping them shut inside.
I wonder if living with a fictional character will drive me crazy - the next Grey Gardens film could be made in the year 2075 featuring me living in a tiny pink house by myself surrounded with Pigimichi album art that never came to fruition and five pomeranians. But I think that by consciously choosing an "act" a "fantasy" -- perhaps we save ourselves from suppressing so much that the narratives inside us bubble up as insanity.
Now please enjoy this amazing song that I have been learning and it must be heard by so many ears. Would you believe that my voice teacher gave it to me as my last assignment to learn before we took a break? She often chooses songs for me that reflect exactly what is going on in my life or mind and it is pretty magical. Also the photography this week is pretty tossed together - I had a whole plan and then my camera battery died and I only had five seconds to take the pictures before I would be too lazy to charge the battery and do it again so I am really going for a BLAND feeling here. I kind of love them though. They are totally how I feel about our neighborhood laundry room.
P.S. Saint Asiago is the fictional version of San Diego in case you were wondering ;0