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Paperdolls and wooden blocks

A simple person calls it dreaming. The marketeers coin catch phrases that make good meditation book titles or self-help work shops: creative visualization. She’d always done it. She’d been punished for it. Long before teachers gave it the ICD-9 diagnostic code of 314.00, she’d caught flak for being distracted and inattentive. Her family called it having TV face. But she’d always imagined things and planned the future in her head. So much of it was driven by eagerness and anticipation. She’d lay her school clothes out the night before, arranging everything on the floor like a giant paperdoll cut out. Her socks would be tucked into her new shoes. The book bag strap wrapped over the flatten shoulder of the shirt neatly tucking into the skirt. She had all her supplies arranged inside her book bag; she already new how she wanted her desk arranged, where the new pink eraser would sit beside the new ball point pens.

She never stopped dreaming and visualizing. She spent so much of her time doing internal landscaping, arranging and organizing all of her imagination. She filed and collated and organized images and ideas inside her head. She clipped photos from magazine and tucked them into 3-ring binders. The fragments of pictures might have just a door hinge or an arrangement of chairs, but it gave her a tangible translation to what she had imagined silently in her head. She clipped and collected evidence for years. She planted gardens and flower beds and trees that – in her head – where already full grown: bearing fruit and dropping nuts.

Her friends walk through her dream house and marvel, they find all the details so clever. They ask, “How did you think of that?” Most of the time she smiles and simply adds, “I know! Isn’t it so cool?” It’s too hard to explain that she had always wanted outlets in the eaves of the house for her Christmas lights. It just seemed sensible. Practical. A pantry should have all the room to store and prepare a household to function and it should use the space efficiently. When her friends said, “This is incredible!” She smiled and said, “I know, isn’t it so cool?” She had been daydreaming about the idea of a butler’s pantry as if she had a downstairs staff of dozens. She’d imagined how a proper home,  in the rolling English countryside would be stocked and stored. Everything has it’s place.

She’d been daydreaming for years. Long before she could place a jar on a shelf, she’d known it would look this way, knew it would function this way. In her field of dreams, she had built the house thousands of times, she’d walked through it. Long before the walls were erected, she could see the light through the skylights, knew how the sun rising would come through the back windows and doors. She had been hearing the echos and footsteps before a roof truss had been placed. In her mind, the house was built. For so long, when it seemed like the house would never get out of her head and onto the dirt, she grieved. It would never be born, never be real. The gestation of the dream from a small seedling had been decades long. Her panache for artfully dreaming in technicolor had started decades before.

She walked through the house with her friends, she walked the distance of the property to the fence line, hanging back a few paces, watching their eyes collect all the details. They were finally seeing what she had been arranging and rearranging like paperdolls and wooden blocks inside her head for years. They were walking through her dreams, seeing her dreams. She didn’t need to translate; it was all very plain and simple.

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