Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • "It looks sort of like a cashew" I said.

    "A what? No, Mommy, it is an island".

    "Not a continent, like Australia?"

    "No, it is an island and this part is a gulf and a bay" said Josh.

    So went the conversation with my son the other day as we discussed the map he drew. The map was nothing a regular Earth human would recognize. It was a huge island on a planet that was part of a solar system, one I guessed was in "a galaxy far, far away". However, I was afraid to ask where the solar system was located, for I already proved I didn't know a continent from an island.

    "Are there people, like humans on this island?" I asked.

    "Yes, there are many people, some are brown, some are light, some are sort of in between. There are humans and Cullians."

    "Do they have languages?"

    "Yes, these people here (points to what he's outlined as a country) speak English like what we speak". He points somewhere else, "Raindosa-- on the continent of Asin-- speak Raindosian and Fiveland speaks Fivan"

    "Where is Fiveland?" I ask

    "On the continent of Asin, in the east middle"

    My head is spinning. He has this all worked out and I can barely keep up. Out paced by a child in grade school. Over the last few years I've watched him draw these continents and countries, refining and sculpting the landscapes. I've watched Josh map out in excrutiating detail such things as mountain ranges, rivers, climate maps, population densities, and even city grids. I've kept every notebook he's written as if they were sacred codices, destined for a future humanity. I wonder, did God start out this way first, planning It All in wirebound notebooks?

    Watching the evolution of his imaginary world, it has made me wonder what happened to my imagination. I was always drawing something as a kid, usually horses and dragons. I especially loved dragons because there were no rules with them, any color, wings or no wings, two legs, four legs, six legs, breathing fire or zapping like electric eels. Anything I wanted. I realized I don't draw much anymore. I am Grown Up. Adult. Mature. Responsible. When did that happen? I resolve that tonight to sketch some incarnation of winged lizard, probably green, definitely a fire breather.

    I started to think more about why imagination drifts away from many of us. Does life just get in the way? I think that is true in my case. Yet, not all of us fall in that trap. Thank goodness for that. What would the world be like? What if Tolkien had left Middle Earth in the corner of his mind? What if JK Rowling left the boy wizard back on that fabled train ride? What if da Vinci never let his mind explore the human condition. What if....

    There are no "what ifs" with my son. I won't allow it. I don't want him to have the "what the hell happened" moment when he is in his 40s. No. Keep drawing, my little man. Keep writing about humans and Cullians and giant islands. Continue to develop the languages, the people, their stories. Do this not so much for you as that is a given, but do it for those of us who need a reminder of our Imagination. You will be thanked by many, but most espeically by me, your dragon doodling mother.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.