At the age of five, my wonderful Uncle talked to me about “suspending my disbelief”. I was a pragmatic child who required an explanation for everything. Or as my Uncle would say “Do you always have to know the far end of a fart?”
As an adult, during my commercial career, I believe that pragmatism has stood me in good stead. This trait ensured that all significant information had been collected and collated when editing, proofreading preparing reports or being part of an important decision-making process. However, after my recent redundancy and a few other personal milestones and experiences my soul is seeking a more creative and connected life. I am still a stickler for detail and professionally, I always will be, but my urge is no longer just to quantify, analyse and correct, but to ride the waves of the process, suspend my fear of letting go and allow in all of the magic that has previously been sidelined as “kids’ stuff”.
This brings me back to my Uncle, or maybe, I should first talk about my sister, J. Our family was not wealthy and my Mum and Dad both worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. My sister often took on the role of Mother. When I was very small and my reading levels were still on Janet and John, J used to read some wonderful stories to me, books like Heidi, What Katy Did and What Katy Did Next and Little Women and then we come to the crux book Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers.
Suddenly from girls getting into mischief whilst growing up, I was suddenly presented with this “practically perfect” Nanny with magical powers and I must admit my fascination with this book was a catalyst for me to improve my reading skills. I wanted to know more about this ‘Magic Stuff’.
I asked my Uncle to explain how a Nanny could do magic – he told me to “suspend my disbelief” and that I didn’t have to understand everything about something to enjoy it. I did enjoy it but I didn’t believe it could be possible. I kept on reading the book to try to understand what made Mary Poppins tick – I was only five – and I soaked up words and images like a sponge,
The next entertainment event in my ‘suspending disbelief education’ happened on 17:15 GMT on 23 November 1963, after the Football results and the tea time news – The First Episode of Doctor Who – An Unearthly Child – the impact of this was not just the Science Fiction story, but the presence of William Hartnell’s Doctor Who as a Grandfather figure, having recently lost my own dearly loved Grandad to bowel cancer, William Hartnell’s Doctor was my fantasy replacement.
With this TV series I did not have to be told to suspend my disbelief, as I was immediately submerged into the whole story, with its scientific and historical references I felt that time travel really could be possible which is probably why I found the “Monsters” totally terrifying. The Daleks and Cybermen had me going to bed with a torch seeking comfort in the analysis of my Mary Poppins book as I read myself to sleep.
The Kid’s Disbelief is suspended, a girl who enjoys escaping to magical places through stories in books and on film and television is being formed.
There is more to be said but for the moment this wannabe comedy writer has to do some housework….//back to reality//