Creative Writing: It All Begins with the Daydream
Do we day dream enough these days? Do we tell ourselves stories in our heads for our own entertainment? See something unusual and ask ourselves, what if?
Ten years ago, perhaps twenty, we all had so-called dead time in our days. The walk to work or school. The moments spent relaxing in a bath. Time on public transit. Time spent waiting. And none of it was wasted. We day dreamed. Made plans. Formulated possible futures in our heads to see what they might look like. We imagined, and out of those imaginings ideas were born – some big, some to be discarded or smiled at, all of them worthwhile. These days, dead time has been killed. We fill it with texting, checking emails, watching videos on YouTube, playing games on our phones, working from our little mobile offices. We multitask. And somehow, paradoxically, this means we no longer have that wealth of time, that freedom to play inside the endless possibilities of our own heads.
Tonight, I took a group of young writers from the Centauri Arts Academy to High Park. I challenged them to walk the labyrinth, not to empty their minds, but to fill it with stories. I asked them to walk without direction or purpose, round and around, and to imagine they were stepping through a magic door out of this world and into another. To let a story unfold inside them. Don’t rush for a pen, don’t try to shape it, I said – just let it be, there inside you, to grow in its own time. We didn’t have as long as I would have liked, but afterwards, I asked the kids whether they would have liked to spend an hour that way, inside their heads. ‘Oh yes,’ one of them said enthusiastically, and the others echoed it. The walking round and around, not having to think about anything, not needing to do anything, or go anywhere, it freed them to feel as well as think. Many of them had stories and ideas they were eager to explore. So will you do it? I asked them. Will you give yourselves time inside your own heads? There was a pause, and one of them asked, ‘When?’