My great aunt and uncle lived in the ground floor apartment to the left of the stairs. Our arrival was always greeted with the sharp, happy barks of Jacque, their little scottish terrier. My sister and I sat primly on the antique couch and looked up at portraits and paintings that were nothing like those in our friends' houses. When we used the bathroom we stepped gingerly over the puppy fence and stole glances of the ancient bedroom and kitchen. Everything smelled like linens, perfume, sunshine, and terrier.
I started having dreams about the house. In my mind the upper floors expanded to become an entire wonderland. My sister and I climbed up a little ladder in the bedroom and found ourselves running through room after room. There were secret passageways and seemingly no end to the parade of wonders. Like the downstairs apartment, the upstairs rooms with filled with curios from other eras, but without the dimming effect of time.
I loved those dreams, even when scary things chased me through the house. I loved to explore and push the limits of the dream to see exactly how large my imaginary world was. Every time I thought I'd come to the end of it, there was something new to discover. Another twist would lead me to a room I hadn't seen yet.
All of this to explain why I create. Curiosity. For me, the apartment below is my every day brain. The brain I don't have to work so hard to use. The one that has answers at the ready. The rest of the house is my creative brain and I'm determined to see exactly how far it stretches. Every time I make a dance or write a story I'm adding another room. Guess I'll keep going until I run out of space.
What about you? What were the things in your childhood that fascinated you? The places that seemed more like book worlds than reality? Do you think they spurred you on to a creative life?
12. The Last Years of Nijinsky - Romola Nijinsky