Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lynn's Comments: I had such an island. I don't know if it was the story of Peter Pan or a project my mom gave us to do, but I had an imaginary island, and it was real.

One rainy North Vancouver day, my mom mixed up a paste using flour and water (and some other things), cut out flat cardboard bases, and helped my brother and me form an island in the middle of each one. We had to make mountains and bays, and when the paste was dry and hard, we coloured our islands with poster paint.

I took this project seriously. The ocean around my island was the deepest blue-green. There was a sandy beach in a rocky horseshoe-shaped bay. There was a forested mountain, and a jungle where I could pick tropical fruit. As I painted my island, I thought about how I got there and what I had to work with. A shipwreck was part of my story, of course, and I built an imaginary shack out of the remnants of a washed-up hull. I had a garden and I made a path to the mountaintop where I could watch for ships. Sometimes, a sailor or a passenger would be washed up on my shore and I would have imaginary adventures with this visitor. The visitors never stayed for long. It was, after all, my private imaginary space.

I daydreamed about this island all the time. When I was being bullied, I went to my island. When I was in trouble (sometimes for being a bully!), I went to my island. If I had a crush on a boy, he might be washed up on the island. Sometimes if a teacher was particularly nice, she might appear there, too. This fantasy went on until I was in high school! Even when I was well beyond childhood, I'd still find myself thinking, "You are allowed on my island." Or, "You are NOT allowed on my island!" It was a refuge. I was safe there. I had supreme control. There were no rainy days. It was a place of peace, and I think it helped me to survive some difficult times.

The island disappeared after many years--but I can still bring it into focus if I try

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