Enchantment and Confusion 

The world of the imagination lies behind a door that I rarely open. Rich lands populated with who-knows-what stay hidden because I’m reluctant to go there; perhaps I’m afraid of what I might discover, but what’s to fear? Mostly I suspect it’s for fear of not wanting to come back. I stay in the real world (though what really is that?) because I would often like to escape it, and to go into that world of enchantment would be to risk getting submerged, sucked in and stuck….. 

Then of course there’s always the danger I might find myself in a place that I’d very much rather not be, like the town of Bad Kettle, and so when I draw from my imagination I don’t explore. I simply interpret. And this is not imagining, at all. This is simply thinking on paper, thinking, what is a Bad Kettle, anyway? 

Watercolour drawing of a rusty pot with handle
Is a bad kettle a rusty thing full of holes that wouldn’t hold water? Something with a fragile wire handle that burns your fingers, or worse, snaps off? A wobbly thing, more like a can than a kettle? Or is it something proverbial – as in the saying ‘You’ll never make good tea in a bad kettle’? Or is it, in fact, a place? 

If I dared, if I were bold enough to enter that world I’d find myself so out of practice that I’d lose my way completely, or so I tell myself. Probably get eaten by a dragon. Like Violet in Bad Kettle I assiduously avoid the path that will bring me into the unknown. 

I put my pen down on the paper and draw a face, one that I’ve never seen (though I can see its provenance). This is a start. 

Watercolour drawing of imagined face

Perhaps stories will emerge, or follow. Perhaps I’ll begin to feel more comfortable with exploring a world I’ve shut out for too long……. 

Little forays into the forest from time to time begin to seem less worrying. Maybe I’ll try a few cautious explorations and see how I get on, and as long as I don’t get pulled into the dark river, or fall under the spell of rocks that open their eyes at the quiet hour of dusk – if I get back with anything interesting to report – you’ll find it here. 

Author’s note: (I’ve always wanted to write that, it sounds so real). 

The words Bad Kettle arose out of an accident with predictive text that my friend and fellow WordPresser at Puffofsmokepoems.com and we became so delighted with that we resolved to let it have its way. Read Violet in Bad Kettle (if you haven’t already) and you’ll see what happened. It’s amazing what can unfold when you let yourself follow a red herring….and even more so when you can share the pursuit. Here’s to happy accidents and creative collaboration! 

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3 thoughts on “ Enchantment and Confusion 

  1. Dear Dapplegrey, If it prompts you to continue with such beautiful image and word posts, then I’ll see if I can write little snippets of Bad Kettle tales just for the pleasure of reading new posts on Invisible Horse! What you’ve said here about exploring imagination touches on so many of my own thoughts, in such a straightforward way–I didn’t even realize what I thought until I read your words. I too have worried about traveling into imagination, and how to get back and acclimate
    quickly, efficiently, to the real world again—for me, I think it’s tied to some Puritan, strict ideas that “escape” is laziness, or shirking of real-world responsibilities. There’s also a healthy dollop of the attitude that something as fun as writing or drawing what imagination delivers must be treated like an indulgence, something to only enjoy in limited little dollops—like ice cream. I don’t express it as well as you, and don’t know where we pick up these stingy, limiting ideas, but here’s a deal–take those little forays into the forest and I’ll meet you, safely far from that scary river. Honestly, some days I think we’re already there…

    1. I can’t say I’m glad to hear that you understand this so well, since it’s because you feel it too (which I’d never have guessed). But I’m beginning to suspect this haunts more people than I would have imagined. It must be as you say, our puritan origins! But also I think because unless you practise going into that world regularly it does feel scarey when you dip a toe in the water. There’s such a vast mysterious untapped source of possibilities there, and it feels unmapped and un-navigable. I’m glad you feel with me in this! And I’m happy you didn’t feel any alarm at my airing the nature of our creative collaboration without so much as a hint of forewarning.
      I love the deal. Yes! And as you say, some days I think we are there already!

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