Worlds on Blank Pages

(Disclaimer: This is just a bit of nonsense I wrote during a free period today.)image

Faced with a blank page you have two options. The first, and by far the easiest (if also the dullest), is to sit and stare at it. You can think all you want, but if the voice in your head isn’t transferring to words on paper, what good is it going to do? You can watch the white and wait for something to happen, but if your fingers don’t start forming words, then nothing is ever going to happen. You will simply watch and wait forever.

The thing is, things will only start happening when you make the first move. Ripples in water will only occur when something touches it. Reactions only happen when there is an action already made.

So, unless you want to spend the rest of your existence waiting for something to happen that never will, the second option is what you should go for. You can start writing. It doesn’t matter what. It doesn’t matter if every single word that appears on the paper is complete nonsense.

Words should bubble from your imagination and seep into your mind, where they proceed to leak into your brain and drip through the veins in your arm right to your fingertips. From there, they should flow through the pen and into the ink, transforming into beautiful patterns and pictures that become: your writing.

And before you know it, the page is not blank. It is not vicious white, taunting you with its snowy complexion. Instead, it is positively brimming with fragments of your mind. The page is bursting with your creativity, and you can sit back, breathe it in, and think this is my world.

***

This is Earth. You and I are from the same Earth, but we are not of the same world. We share the same planet, but we live it different ways. We might not have the same culture or customs. We might not eat the same foods or tell the same stories, yet maybe we live in the same village. Maybe we have lived in the same village our entire lives and mixed with the same people as each other, but we’re still from different worlds. We still see our own worlds differently.

There are no two worlds exactly the same. Every person – every single human life, even those who are remembered by no one, has their own world. So does every animal and tree and flower. Some people have more than one world within them, so they need to find some way of getting it out of there system. Thus, the arts are born.

Every single book is its own world. Even if the setting is the exact same place that you grew up, right down to the flowery wallpaper, the pages still know things that you do not. You will see it from a new perspective – through a character’s eyes or a bird’s eye view.

And really, when it comes down to it, that’s what worlds are all about: perspectives. If everyone saw everything from exactly the same perspective, we would all be the same person. So, it’s not that the people make the worlds; it’s that the worlds make us.

That is why stories are so important. Every story we hear, read or watch, sinks into our membranes and becomes part of us. We breathe stories. Stories seep through our beings and, sometimes, they take over. Every aspect of life is a story. And every aspect of a story is life.

Entering Fictional Worlds

The thing that I love the most about reading, writing and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix is that they introduce me to new worlds, ideas and people that I never would have known otherwise. They completely sweep me away. It’s not that I’m not satisfied with the world I live in now because I freaking love my life, but fictional worlds give me a sense of exploring my world deeper.

One of my favourite questions to ask people (and I do ask it quite often) is which fantasy world they would most like to visit: Narnia, Hogwarts, Neverland, Wonderland, Panem, Middle Earth or Westeros? All of the characters from that world would be there for you to interact with. You can explore the worlds to your heart’s content. I think the answer that people give is always interesting. It says something about the person – not only that they are a fan of the story, but also what they want out of life. The kind of people they want to mix with. The kind of adventures they want to spend their lives having.

My answer is Hogwarts. Make of that what you will.

Just think. When you’re standing in the middle of a library, you’re surrounded by thousands of different worlds. Thousands of different characters to get to know. Thousands of adventures to be had. And when you write, more worlds, characters and adventures spill from your fingertips.

Everyone has a story in them. A writer’s job is to dig deep and pull them out in as many different ways as they can want. An artist does the same thing. So do actors, directors, musicians, chefs, builders, and basically every job you can think of. Everyone’s story is different. So is everyone’s world.

There are over seven billion people on Earth. That’s seven billion different stories. Seven billion different perspectives of the world they live in. I once read that every single person you meet knows something that you don’t, and I think that is a magical sentence.

What’s your story?

Lost Girl

I am obsessed with Peter Pan, and it’s not just because I have a crush on Robbie Kay who played him on Once Upon A Time. It is the entire concept of Neverland. The conflicts between childhood and adulthood, dreams and reality, innocence and corruption, and freedom and responsibility resonate with me more than they ever did before.

As I am reaching my eighteenth birthday, it might seem silly to some people that I’m so attracted to a fairytale. Truthfully, the story of Peter and Wendy never interested me much when I was younger. It’s only now that I’m approaching uni and have to think about earning money that I really understand what it’s all about.

In the early 1900s when JM Barrie wrote the play ‘Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’, childhood was cut short very early. The ages of the characters are never specifically stated in either the play or novel, but Peter is described as still having all of his baby teeth, and Wendy is just his height. Nowadays, childhood seems to stretch on for as long as possible. In early adolescence, children seem desperate to grow up, unlike Wendy.

Now, at seventeen going on eighteen, I find myself torn between wanting to live my own life in my own house, earning my own money. But, at the same time, the thought of all that independence terrifies me and all I want to do is crawl back into my childhood and hide there forever. Maybe that’s why I love the idea of Neverland so much.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be? Someone turns up on your windowsill and whisks you away on an adventure full of more excitement and happiness than you have experienced in your entire life. Unfortunately, there are laws against that kind of thing now.

But at the end of the day, Wendy makes the ultimate decision and says goodbye to Peter, returning home with her brothers to face the inevitable challenge of growing-up, a feat that Peter was never able to accomplish. And it is so sad. The novel depicts the sadness of it much more than the Disney film.

Peter promises to return every year to take Wendy back to Neverland so that he would never forget her. But he does. Because time doesn’t work the same in Neverland, and although he holds to his promise for a couple of years, he soon leaves her for many years. In that time, Wendy gets married and has a daughter. Then, one night, Peter returns to take Wendy (or whom he believes to be Wendy) back to Neverland for her annual visit. And so occurs one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking scenes that I have ever read. Wendy wakes from her chair in the shadows in the corner of the room and sees Peter standing over her daughter’s bed. Peter cheerfully explains that he’s returned after a year to take her away, and Wendy says that it has been longer than that. It has been years. And slowly, Wendy emerges from the shadows and Peter recoils. She’s all grown-up. In the end, Peter takes her daughter to Neverland, and then her granddaughter, and so on. But he always forgets them.

If that hasn’t tugged on your heartstrings enough, then maybe this piece of information will. JM Barrie grew up with seven siblings. When he was six, his fourteen-year-old brother, David, died. His mother was so devastated that Barrie tried to fill his brother’s place by acting like him and wearing his clothes. In Margaret Oglivy (1896), Barrie described a moment when his mother saw him and asked, “Is that you?”, to which he replied in a small voice, “No, it’s no’ him, it’s just me”. He said that his mother took comfort in the fact that David would remain a boy forever and never have to face the horrors of growing-up and difficulties of adulthood.

This adds a whole new side to Peter Pan, who clearly has similarities to Barrie’s brother. The idea that Peter leads other little ‘lost boys’ to the place where they never have to grow up suggests that Peter makes it easier for dying children to move on. It is a sad but oddly comforting idea.

Peter Pan clearly has many layers and themes that are not as obvious as we thought. It is about more than just the struggle of growing-up; it is about the more complex ideas of life, death and love.

I strongly recommend that you read JM Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. Barrie writes in an imaginative style that is completely unique to him. His use of often surreal imagery creates an atmosphere that you can just lose yourself in. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

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On a different note, my dad now has a blog in which he posts reviews of films, TV shows and books. You can visit it here.