Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Terrible Consequences of My Little Pony

I remembered a strange thing yesterday. I remembered the name of the first world I made up.
I can’t tell you the actual name of it, because it is hideously embarrassing*, but I can tell you I was probably about 7 years old and my primary interest in life was My Little Ponies and other mythical beasts- this probably gives you a good idea of what the name might have been like.

It wasn’t the first imaginary world I’d come up with, but it was the first I remember giving an actual name and political system to. Well, I say political system; essentially there were two sides to this world, a good one with forests and glades and rainbow strewn waterfalls, and a bad one with rocks and fire and stuff. The pleasant side was governed by an, um, unicorn, and the nasty side by a lion. Clearly, along with My Little Pony, I was somewhat influenced at the time by that old nursery rhyme “The Lion and the Unicorn”, which I vividly remember reading with great interest in one of my many nursery rhyme books- I still don’t know what plum cake is, but it sounds nice. I would also probably have been reading the Narnia books at the time, although it sounds as though I didn’t really take to Aslan, having cast him as a bit of a baddie in my own world (the Narnia books were abandoned a few books in thanks to my reading Lord of the Rings in the middle- Narnia struck me as rather tame in comparison, thank you very much. And that was before I was even aware of all the Jeebus nonsense).

This is interesting I suppose because it occurred to me that I am still doing the same stuff; making up worlds and then watching to see what stories come out of it. The Primary School Age was undoubtedly my most creative period, when my only responsibility each day was to come up with some new interesting world for me and my friends to play in (and if that world could involve undead creatures of some sort, I would be happy). I wish that was still my only responsibility, because it is brilliant. Still, I’m glad that I found my way back to doing this stuff, and I no longer have to force my small friends to act out scenes in a chilly playground.

*Two people in the entire world know the name, as it was with them I used to act out the stories set in this world. If you just happen to be reading this (you know who you are!), I’m sorry I broke your camp bed that time and sat in your cocoa pops.


  1. Plum cake. Hope it lives up to your expectations.

  2. The first proper one I remember making when I was a similar age had a probably equally embarrassing name. One part of it did involve an airship disguised as a cloud (the hole into the attic with the ladder down), which was quite nifty, although I wasn't really allowed to play on the ladder until later.

    It's amazing really how creative you are as a child, it's all silliness looking back but there is also a kind of logic to it all and you could come up with something on the spot at any time or place and it would be completely believable not only to you but the friends you were playing with as well - it's kind of a magic all to itself and it's a shame that a lot of people lose that ability (or put it away) as they get older.

  3. Your imaginary world sounds intriguing Jamie, sounds like there's a picture book in there somewhere... ;)

    I think one of the most precious things about our early creativity is that we didn't analyze it so damn much. Overthinking things kills the joy of making stuff (unless you're making a car or a truck or a nuclear reactor, in which case you probably should think about it)- I'm pretty sure that I lost the joy of illustration because art college forces you to ask "why am I doing this?" all the damn time. Maybe I'm just doing it because it looks cool, alright?!

    When we were kids it was all about what was cool and fun. Creative stuff should always be like that.