In an Ideal World, who would you be?
I was asked this question (or something near enough it) when I was about 12, by a teacher who was probably trying to instil decent self-esteem in my class. We were all asked to bring in a photo of someone we wanted to be.
So, dutifully, photos were brought in. Of celebrities: footballers, WAGs, models, etc. The normal range of people that are held up as unwitting role models. For reasons from “She’s got straight hair” to “He’s a footballer”.
Except me. I wasn’t exposed to popular culture because we didn’t have a TV or any way of playing films until I was a teenager. I didn’t have a photo. I couldn’t think of anyone I wanted to be. Except maybe Sara Crewe, or Katy Carr, or Darrell Rivers, or any number of characters from the books I read, and only because everyone kept asking who I’d chosen. Hermione Grainger. Pollyanna. Jo from the Chalet School or Little Women; they both became writers. I went through a stage once of being Lady Jane Grey, from a programme tie-in novel that I found. I think that was my “emo” stage. Or maybe my Goth stage (minus the make-up. I’ve always been quite lazy when it comes to make-up. So much effort). Whichever, it didn’t last long. There’s something romantically tragic about her.
What no-one did, which is what I think my teacher wanted, was bring in a photo of themselves. Apparently no-one was happy enough in their own skin to own up to it.
Now, I’m just as happy being me, because I’m happy in my own world. I like the worlds of authors and I’ll happily spend hours exploring. But I have my own worlds to explore too. Kind of like the worlds at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree. Especially now that the one I found when I was 14 seems finally to be a bit more concrete and my characters are telling their story more coherently. It’s undergone quite a lot of renovation and the people reincarnated through the years, but we’ve come to an understanding.
Hopefully one day soon, I’ll be able to introduce you.
I’d ask who you want to be, but if you’ve got this far, you should know the “right” answer! I’m going to take it for granted that there’s a fictional person you’d be. (Who, by the by?) Although, I just thought, wouldn’t that then mean you can’t explore all the other lovely fictional worlds?