My early forays into creating worlds of my own were just what – it seems to me – almost all children do; so they were nothing unusual (I was tempted to write ‘special’, but I don’t think that that was the case) and, while mine were not especially special, they were bound up with the me of that time – though that was still unfocused. Yet still my nascent and crudely formed worlds were distinctly mine.
And I have continued to do this; indeed, I find it strange that just about everyone does not create all the way through their adult life as well. But it seems many do not.
It does depend, of course, on what one means by creating worlds. There are many people who try to do this in their home; and many of us – to my mind, more importantly – who are lucky enough to have their own outdoor space and time create gardens where they can give shape and sense to a small part of the world while learning to understand just how much (or little) control they actually have.
But this is not what I think most people mean by the creating of worlds. They mean fantasy, and often use the term pejoratively, though this is certainly not all I mean by the idea of creating worlds. I have no truck with the concept that fantasy is just an escapist nonsense adults should have left behind.
In the following pages I will attempt to give some history and context to my creating of other worlds, special places in this world, and even some idea of what I mean by fantasy as a healthy preoccupation – though this may not be that original. For convenience, quite possibly primarily mine, it is divided into when I was a child, when I was a young adult – with further divisions there, and ‘Reality Verses the Fantastic’. I have not yet decided how far I will take this part of my internal history; maybe I will look at what I do now with some attempt at detachment: we’ll see.
I will offer illustrations where I can, but unfortunately I have nothing extant from when I was a child and only a few pieces – and from my very late teens – before my mid-twenties; and I don’t have access to any photos that where taken when I was much younger.