I had forgotten about my childhood daydreaming until today when a student asked me if it is normal to daydream? My answer had to be yes, of course, it is normal. It may not help you comprehend the text we just read, but it is normal.
I used to spend large tracks of time dreaming, so much so that I cannot remember large tracks of my childhood. Weekends were spent lying on the ground, the driveway bricks always felt smooth and warm on my skin. On my bedroom floor, staring from the window to the door at the slightest movement from the rest of my family. Or laying on the grass watching the shadow of the house disappear as the sun passed the day. I once watched a daisy follow the sun across the day.
Daydreaming was the way I chose to pass my time, perfectly content in my dreams. And because I was busy dreaming, I did not have time to read. In fact, our house had very few books in it, and it never occurred to me that reading might engage my mind. Those seemingly wasted hours could have been put into discovering other worlds and the people in them.
We did have a set of Encyclopedia and some other reference books, but I can never remember feeling the joy and anticipation I feel now when I look at a bookshelf. As soon as I had children, I discovered the joys of reading. I adored reading to them every night and we read all the classics and discovered some much-loved modern classics and some stinkers from all eras.
I have read to all my children and we loved most of what we read. Where is the Green sheep and Wind in the Willows, Audrey of the Outback and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There have been painfully hard to read books about girls who love horses and girls who love fairy’s, the plot lines and characters left me wanting to scratch my eyes out. There are the series' which filled our evenings for weeks and months on end, Terry Pratchett’s Disc World, still would make my top five all-time favourite children's book. Tiffany Aching is my al time female protagonist. The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, leaves me quaking with fear but I am unable to put it down.
I went to hear Jane Sullivan launch her latest book Storytime and I loved listening to her reminisce about the characters that she liked and didn’t like when she was a child. I also love that she found revisiting them as an adult fraught with all kind of things. Working out that your beloved Mole, Ratty and Toad are personified private school boys and have no female friends, is disconcerting, to say the least.
Or that the ever-longed-for visit to Pooh Bridge ended in disappointment because the reality is never what our imaginations can create. It really is a wonderful book if you are looking for something to inspire your memory. I am sure it will prompt a story or two from you.
There is a certain shame for me about my childhood reading habits or lack of. Writers, after all, spent their childhoods reading and writing. However, after talking to the students about the marvels and deceptions of daydreaming I am reminded of the wonderful worlds, scenes, and characters that I created in my head as I stared out of the classroom window. In my world daydreaming is not only normal, but it also is good for you. Just like a good book can transport you, so too can your imagination. Fuelled with a good book daydreamers have massive potential.