When I was little*, I considered the woods to be my own personal playground. The house couldn’t hold me and once outside, my imagination ran wild. I built houses for the fairies that I knew lived in the woods. They were extravagant castles with stick turrets and moss walls. I left the fairies notes scrawled in the mud and I knew they liked their homes because they wrote back and told me so! I would leave them presents that would be gone when I checked back the next day. I saw them, too. At night, little lights would dance around the woods. They weren’t afraid of me so they showed me how they played and danced. They knew they could trust me.
Then one day, I wandered into my mother’s room and noticed a box on her bed. It was full of the presents I had given to the fairies. It broke my heart. This wasn’t Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny, this was my reality coming undone.
I might not leave presents out for the fairies in the woods anymore but I do believe in their presence. I believe in energy and the magic that inspires my artwork. If I hadn’t played in those woods as a child, I may not have ended up as the artist I am today. Let your imagination run wild and don’t listen to people who tell you you’re acting silly or that something isn’t real. Go out and play in the woods. Most importantly: play. As an artist, of any kind, that is our job. When we play, we inspire others to do so. This is our job, our livelihood: to entertain and inspire. Hold on to childhood memories as a well for your purest time of creativity. Do not be afraid to mine from it, as it is bottomless.
I am a fairy
I am a witch
I am a mermaid
I am a muse.
Call it whatever you want, but life is more interesting when you believe in something outside of your everyday tangible existence.
*This anecdote was related to me by Eleanor
“Ballybetagh Woods” by Catherine Nelson from Imaginary Landscapes