MANIFESTO for the FUTURE by Anthony Turner.
When I was young (maybe 6 years old onwards) my way of dealing with living in an unstable, volatile home was to escape into a carefully constructed fantasy world which I spent years and years building up and furnishing with my imagination.
I had many, many friends.... some lived under my bed and I would convince myself that they were tickling my feet as I tried to sleep at night or would pop up and blow on my hair thinking it was a funny kind of game, giggling as they scurried back under the bed. Some lived in the wardrobe in the corner of my bedroom... one in particular would open the door and his big yellow eye balls would follow me as I crept out of the bedroom to go to the bathroom in the night. This imaginary companion used to scare me, but I would reassure myself that he meant no harm. Others would hide behind my curtains and would waft them around as they squabbled for a comfortable spot.
Today I'm an older version of that little boy...I find myself hiding from the noise, the yelling and the screaming. But instead of it coming from the living room or the kitchen of the house I grew up in it now comes from all around me from every angle and it terrifies me. The real world terrifies me and I'm not afraid to admit that.
When I think of my future, I think of myself and my friends, who coincidentally have never left me. More have and will continue to join us, our world will get bigger, become more elaborate and more spectacular as I allow it all to grow in my mind. They will become increasingly more real as I sit in my own house..my house..my space, my safe place and draw them into life. When I lie next to my beautiful boyfriend in bed at night I'll explain to him another piece of my world and he understands and gets it and I hope he will nag me enough to make me write out their stories and not just draw their faces.
I'll pass on my extensive knowledge of this other place and the creatures within it to my kids. They won't ever, ever have to use it as a safe place like I did when I was their age but they can use it as a tool in order to expand their own creative imaginations. They can add their own characters to this ever evolving world of wonders.
The world outside mine, outside all of our own private lives and safe spaces seems far scarier than ever right now. It seems to be growing more malevolent and more uncertain than ever. But in my future... my safe world will be at home with my boy and, hopefully, kids, drawings, stories.
I still notice, out of the corner of my eye, a cupboard or a wardrobe or the door slowly cracking open, a pair of big yellow eyes stares back at me.
But I refuse to be scared.