At my last writers’ group meeting I read the second chapter of my current WIP, my YA fantasy ‘Doors’. The Summit City Scribes is a pretty diverse group, and there are a few people who don’t read fantasy, like at all. (Shocking, I know!) At the end of my critique (which went very well) one of them turned to me and said, “I can’t believe you have this stuff in your head. I can’t even begin to understand how you think these things up.” (or something like that)
I stared at her in shock … surprise held my tongue. These ideas have always occupied my head. Why, for heaven’s sake, doesn’t everyone think this way? I forgot, as I always do, that not everyone has the same twisted ideas tumbling through their minds that I have in mine.
Isn’t it great? *flails* It is!
We go through life thinking, wondering, talking to ourselves (or maybe that’s just me). Every once in a while,we are reminded that what is perfectly normal to us is completely odd to someone else.
Our minds are set up differently each equipped with filters, as unique as we are. Ideas weave through our heads. The goings on of the world seep into our brains. Every idea, every subject gets sifted, sorted. Our filters catch some things and let others fall away into oblivion.
History, politics, or scientific principles, pretty much the straight and narrow, the workings of real life enter my brain, stay for a second, but get filtered out eventually. However, anything fantastical, magical, scary, or insanely weird are free to wander aimlessly through my mind forever. You’ll find a real shindig inside my head. My filters tilt to the side of wonky, possibly created from the wood of a Narnian tree, or exist in another dimension.
Our filters can’t hold everything. Our heads would explode. Only the ideas that add to our joy stay wrapped up safe in our minds. The magic of individuality.
Just as it should be. *sigh*
We’re born with our filters. However, our childhood … what we experience, how we are influenced, the people in our lives help shape them.
My mother showed me the magic of this world, the real world, as in nature and people, not the inner workings of the Government. Always hanging back, taking her time, she’d notice every bug, flower, and leaf. Mom would point out the marvelous wonder of the stars, the way the sun paints the sky at sunrise and sunset. The joy of friends and laughter, the wide world of all the things to try … sports, art, music, stories, places to go, and experiences to have. Thanks to her, I marvel at the change of the seasons, never willing to live where I don’t get all four. The Hallmark Channel entertains me (especially during the Christmas season) because my mom passed on her love of happy endings. Hence the existence of my girlie filter woven of a net of happy tears.
My dad introduced me to the magic of elsewhere. Never one to change the channel, even when an impressionable child wandered into the room, he exposed me to all things not of this Earth. A story of an evil, blood-sucking demon or a poison spitting alien offered up a dose of fear to the unwary. My sisters ran. I stayed, drawn to the world of fiction … fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. My filter held onto all of it. I’d settle on the couch and ask, “What’s this?” I met Dr. Who that way. I fell in love with the Enterprise and Galactica because I stumbled upon their magnificent images on the small screen. I couldn’t look away from ‘Poltergeist’ at the drive in – the killer clown doll becoming one of my greatest fears. Dad handed me my first horror book, ‘The Talisman’ by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Wow, did that send me down a dark road of fun, ending, of course, in The Twilight Zone, where the strange and unexpected could happen to anyone.
It’s obvious I was born to love these things, but my childhood world helped solidify who I am. As a kid, I drew strange creatures and people then create new worlds for them. Scenes from stories in my head would make it to the page. Most of my drawings disturbed my mom, but my dad always gave an approving nod. A tree, ruins, or the wind can give me fuel to create a world and the characters to live there.
All grown up, well, not quite, I see why the portal, taking me to the universe where I truly belonged, never opened. I am meant to share all my weird here. It is my purpose. One I love.
So when I read my chapters set on far away worlds to my writers’ group, I will forgive those who can’t help but picture somewhere on Earth (just like I will forgive those who don’t know every fact about Harry Potter and give me blank stares when I mention Dr. Who). The fantastical and strange just fall through their filters. And that’s okay. I don’t write for everyone. Mainly I write, I create for me. But I do like to share with others whose filters happily hold onto all the weird too. And please, if you have created other worlds I haven’t traveled to, then share with me! Of course, I end up jealous that I didn’t think of it, but I’ll live.
What does your filter catch, allowing passage into the twisting paths of your mind? Be glad its not the same as everyone else. Celebrate individuality … one of the best magics out there.