When I was a child I believed my brother and I would grow up to be Digimon. Only cooler because my brother would turn into a dragon named Creacher and I, a cat named Nao.
I believed that if I watched a movie too many times on VHS that I was a selfish child, being rude to the cast who had to reassemble and run through the script every time I hit play. Those poor actors! Didn’t they get tired of saying the same lines in the same way over and over again just because some young girl enjoyed their film too much?
I believed there was an underground city under my grandparents’ house. That a labyrinth of tunnels, dirt roads, and cavernous halls existed, but you could only access it through the crawl space in the laundry room of my grandparents’ basement. Only, I was too scared to go near the crawl space or even look too long into the shadows. I’d had enough dreams of clawed hands kidnapping me into the darkness. I never stayed asleep long enough to find out how the dream ended.
Eventually, I grew up and found new beliefs to sustain me. After a particular Lord of the Rings marathon in high school, I believed in Middle Earth more than I believed in the touch of my bed sheets or the flick of a light switch. I believed that wanting and wishing hard enough would send me careening into the House of Elrond. It would be me (not everyone else on fanfiction).
And when a visit to Middle Earth seemed like too great of a favor, I believed in Teen Titans. I hung goggles around my neck to be Terra. I strapped weights around my ankles under my jeans so that walking the halls and stairways in high school I could train my legs to be strong. I could only develop super powers if I began my own training. Then, surely, the Teen Titans would reach out to me for the team.
Slam poet Sarah Kay leads a workshop where she asks everyone to make a list: “Ten Things You Know to Be True.” The more I think about my list, the more I realize I wouldn’t know where to begin. I don’t have a list! I don’t know what’s true!
As speculative fiction authors, we write the unknown. We spin our beliefs and spin and spin and weave and weave until we discover truth. We do not know it. We uncover it, bit by bit, year by year.
Imagination is not just for children. And on some level, we are all the child afraid of the crawl space, the child who believes we are the Chosen One in our beloved fantasy stories. On and on, I have believed in something.
I know nothing to be true because more than truth, I live with belief that the world is more steeped in the fantastic than meets the eye.