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Wonder: Imaginary friends, imaginary worlds

Strangely, given that I was a pretty imaginative kid in general, I never had any imaginary friends. For about a year, though, I did have an entire imaginary world.


I don’t remember exactly how it came about. Some time beforehand, I’d read and adored THE CHANGELING by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, in which the two main characters make up a fantastic world where they act out an intense and intricate storyline, simply for their own enjoyment. And in fifth grade I became close friends with a classmate who did have imaginary friends, and loved making stuff up just as much as I did. She also loved unicorns. (I was more of a dragon person, but willing to be flexible.)

Somehow that combination of factors resulted in the creation of Unicorn Valley.

Unicorn Valley (or U.V. as we usually referred to it, for simplicity’s sake and also to be mysterious when talking about it among others) was a world of myth and magic that conveniently existed on a parallel plane with our school yard. We entered it by jumping onto the storm drain in one corner of the yard and exited the same way. While there, we and our unicorn friends had great adventures and battled all sorts of fiendish creatures.


We spent just about every recess in fifth grade in U.V. We’d even come by the school yard to play there if we got together over the weekend.

But then in sixth grade we were in different classes, and started hanging out with different people, and U.V. started to fade. I remember one time, I think toward the end of that year, we were hanging out on the weekend and I suggested returning to U.V., hoping to recapture the excitement of it. But for whatever reason it fell flat. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough any more to get wrapped up in it. That was the last time we went. But I still have fond memories of that year when the magic worked.

That’s my story — I’d love to hear yours! Did you have imaginary friends as a kid? Worlds? Tell me all about them. :)

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Originally published at Megan Crewe - another world, not quite ours. You can comment here or there.

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
My imaginary world has never gone away.

I loved that book! For once it was not a cautionary tale against having "too much imagination."
megancrewe
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yes! It's still one of my faves. I always wanted an Ivy. :)
authorwithin
Aug. 26th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
How cool! We had great imaginations and often pretended things. I didn't have any imaginary friends though. I think U.V. would make a great children's book. ;-)
megancrewe
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
Maybe if I could remember any of the things that actually happened "there"! I've forgotten all the details. :)
robinellen
Aug. 26th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
I didn't have imaginary friends, but my cousins and I had our own world, as well. It was right outside my grandpa's gate, in the part of their property which they let run wild. We used to dress up in fancy clothes (which my grandma collected for us) and go back there. Our world was a cross between Narnia and Geburah, along with some of our own thoughts, as well. I remember wishing so much that it could be real ;) (I was probably upper elementary at the time, too).
megancrewe
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Oooh, dress-up is always fun! I had a big box of dress-up clothes in my closet that my friends and I grabbed from all the time. Sounds like a fun world!
lizziebelle
Aug. 26th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
I had several imaginary friends when I was little. There was Ernie, Bird, and Hatusan (a name I came up with, and it sounds either Japanese or maybe Aztec; pronounced Hah-too-Sahn). Then there was Bird's friend, who lived on Poke-O-Moonshine mountain (in way upstate NY). I also remember pretending to milk the cows in my parents' bedroom. I've always had a very active imagination. *g*
megancrewe
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Hee, I love the idea of having an imaginary friend who lives somewhere far away. Did s/he visit? Send imaginary letters? :)
lizziebelle
Aug. 27th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Well, it wasn't far away at the time; we lived up there. :)

But yeah, sometimes we'd get messages from him when he went somewhere exploring.
britlitfantwin
Aug. 27th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
I used to dress my dolls and stuffed animals in doll clothes, gather blankets and extra sets of clothing, and set them up on my bed as though we were in a covered wagon (during pioneer times, naturally) heading off for ... somewhere. I think my favourite part was gathering everything and setting it up, really!

When I wanted to shake things up, flowing lava and rescue missions usually did the trick.

Other than that, I usually got lost in whatever world I was reading about at the time ... Five Children and It, the Enid Blyton 'Adventure' series, things like that.

Edited at 2009-08-27 12:35 am (UTC)
megancrewe
Aug. 27th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
That sounds like fun! When I was little I had a bunk bed and I used to hang a sheet over the edge of the top bunk and the space behind became my cave/fort/whatever I needed at the time. :)
asakiyume
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Megan, I loved that book. I've signed my letters LOVE LOVE LOVE ever since reading it, thanks to Ivy.

I had an imaginary friend when I was very, very little, but when I was older (from about six up), I tended to be the imaginary person, myself--put myself into stories. I started out by talking them out loud, but got self conscious and so just told them in my head.

One of the best things ever was meeting a girl in seventh grade who was able to jump into imaginary games with me--at that age, even! We would be spies together; it was exciting. Anywhere we went, we could be these secret agents.
megancrewe
Aug. 29th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
Yay! Another CHANGELING fan. I consider that my absolute favorite book of my childhood--I can't count how many times I took it out from the library to re-read before I finally tracked down a copy of my own via ABE several years back. So glad it's in print again now.

And yes to the making up stories in one's head. I often spent recess sitting in a quiet spot spinning out all sorts of adventures only I could see. :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books


Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014


The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012


The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013


The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014


Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014


Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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