Monday, October 23, 2006

History of Imagination

I was six years old the first time I thought of Avaland. I was crying over an unmemorable something, and in bitterness and tears I began to imagine a complex world where everything was undeniably Utopian. From that moment on, my tiny, wingless, imagination took flight and soared to tremendous levels.
I don't know how I thought of the name. I think it was something I picked up from a cheesy fantasy novel. However, it seemed to fit and that was what I called it.
Sitting on the back porch I would close my eyes and transport myself to a parallel universe. Usually my wanderings in this strange land took place on mossy cliffs of towering ruggedness- stepping down to the sea- and over what I pictured as foggy, enchanted moors.
My hunger for perfection did not stop when I was done playing. I would spend hours arranging the furniture in my room, and daydreaming about my chimerical land.
I only got worse as time went on.
I used my backyard as the stage to my play. The willow trees were no longer just trees, but a haunted wood. Under the apricot boughs was a fairy ring, and in springtime I would visit them in the evenings. On rainy days I could go fishing for whales in the puddles, and in the crisp fall I roped down a dragon and rode him into the clear, blue, sky.
My playtime became even more extravagant and complicated. I added characters, and dilemmas, and relationships. It was a book, I thought. My own personal play; complete with protagonist, plot, sub-plots, and scene.
It was all so real to me, and so deeply personal, that I never shared my secret place with anybody.
Until now.
I'm not quite sure what the purpose of Avaland was. A method of escape, perhaps. But after several years of bonding, it became so much more to me. Surely I was a severely troubled child, as I never really lived in the real world, but only truly existed in the fairyland in my mind. This probably accounts for any strange quirks that I still have today.
Looking back on it all, I marvel at my ability to hallucinate and call it art; to believe in a dream that was so completely unreal.
But I still think it was the most beautiful delusion imaginable.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Prodigal Heirs and their Sons

As independent females we cannot escape the dissolute habits of men. 'Eye raping' is a fact of life we'd all rather disregard. I know there are countless, creepy, males crawling this planet; and I know it is inevitable that someday I will be forced to come into contact with at least one of them. I have been warned against these things. I have been prepared for the storm.

Unfortunately when it rains, it pours.

It seemed every scary old man in Salt Lake City was out today, and I had the terrible misfortune of meeting them all.
I was sitting across from Carla and Kathy on TRAX, recovering from my embarrassing dare of dancing the can-can on the train. A man entered the car and his eyes locked onto us. He wore a checkered shirt and facial hair. I glanced at him briefly and thought, "Suspcious." And there it was; an undeniable wink. I did a double take. And there it was again. It was true; he was hitting on me.
As we stepped off the train at Gallivan Plaza, the sight of the bustling city met our eyes. A lonely hobo was playing his cello on the corner. He followed we three as we nervously waited to cross the street. Nodding and smiling at me, he tipped his hat. A harmless, homeless man? Perhaps.
"Do you have two quarters?"
"I'm sorry, I don't have any change."
There was an awkward silence as he stood before me, staring with shifty, twitching eyes.
Run away!
A while later I was alone in the elevator of Wells Fargo, floor number twenty-one. Another man enters. He stares. Up goes the elevator. 22-23-24...
(Door opens, enter Carla and Kathy, laughing.)
Another wink.
"Have a nice day ladies."
On the train ride home I felt the nervous pressure of Carla's hand on my leg, as we tried to avoid eye contact with the person sitting across from us. He did insist on talking, however, and asked us several too personal questions. I zipped up my jacket, bit my lip, and nodded politely to his rambling.
Perhaps I was disturbed by these minor occurrences because I am not used to being accosted and bombarded with questions from strange old men. And someone screaming, "I want you!" from their car is not my idea of fun.
In other words, I am back to my man-hating stage. I simply wish that these things would not happen. I wish that raggedy old men could keep their eyes in their own sockets so I would be spared the pain of witnessing them look at my friends in that way.
There is one thing I don't understand. Do I appear so needy... so desperate for attention that these men think it is favorable in my eyes to wink, to question, and to flirt?
I most certainly hope not.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mud + Heels = Humiliation

I knew my life had taken a turn for the worst when I realized I was stuck on top of the Turnbow's chain link fence.
It is a common joke amongst the people in my ward that I drive to church every Sunday. Certainly, the chapel is terribly close to my home, but I do think I have a sound argument in saying that when one wears uncomfortable shoes, one cannot be expected to trek across fields full of mud and horse excrement. Even so, they still said I was polluting the Earth. Today I decided to prove them wrong. So I walked.
I knew the muses were frowning upon me when I saw the gate that links the top of my street to the chapel. It was padlocked, wrapped tight with a good strong chain and some sturdy rope. How could my lifetime of good luck have run out so quickly on such a deserving, cheerful, Sunday morning?
I had a choice: go back defeated or surrender my pride and climb over. I climbed. My heel stuck in the chain links. I abandoned it. The tulle of my skirt caught and snagged, exposing a good deal more leg than it is appropriate to say. At that moment several high priests from my ward chose to walk by. In desperation I wildly beat at my skirt, trying to lengthen it. By the time I became visible to them through the trees I had managed to compose myself on the top of the fence post-parakeet style- nonchalantly gazing in the opposite direction, praying to Heaven or to the cruel muses that I would blend in with the scenery.
It didn't work.
They questioned my position. They asked me if I would be joining them at church anytime soon, and did I need help? Oh no, I told them. I'm just... sitting. Enjoying the morning.
Sitting? On top of a fence? With my skirt tucked under me, scraped legs, and mussed up hair like an amazon woman? I think not...
Oh, muses!
By the time I made it to the other side of the gate I was sufficiently bedraggled; I had pine needles in my hair, and mud on my feet. I spent a good while trying to get my shoe unstuck, and the harder I pulled the more disconcerted I became. Needless to say, I was a complete wreck.
Earth, I do indeed love you. But until the Turnbows decide to be better neighbors and unlock their gate, I will continue to pollute you with my Sunday drives.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I have denied its presence for several weeks now. But after today, I believe I can truly usher in the Autumn with the felicity and good humor a new season brings.
My appeasement began with the rain. It seemed providential that heaven should choose the moment I was outside to lift its floodgates and let loose a storm. The water poured down in buckets and sheets and seemed to penetrate the skin and absorb into every line-- and then to overflow and bubble over. The howling wind, and the vividness of the lightning led me to one conclusion: rain is the most perfect state of being. Now, given that truly makes no sense at all, but I have no other way to explain it.
After the storm ended everything was fragrant, and clean, and filled with October clarity. It seemed to me that the trees and plants were stretching forth their last moments of growth before closing into their sleepy dormancy. The fire bushes were aflame and little pearls of water dripped from their leaves.
This comely little Earth never fails to fill me with rapture.
So, bid adieu to seasons past everybody, and say hello to Fall.
Because whether we appreciate it or not, it's here.