Time hasn't changed anything. Amélie still shelters in solitude and asks herself silly questions about the world or about this town.
One of the problems with being a natural born bookworm is the delicious snare of introvertism.
I wonder sometimes if I would ever trade my elaborate imagination (that more often than not gets me into trouble) for a sociable, rational mien. But I was never one to walk the dusty brown road rather than hop onto the crocodile-shaped glitter bus that spews out marshmallow treats.
Amélie's only refuge is the world she makes up. In that world, vinyls are made the same way as pancakes, and the neighbour's wife, who has been in a coma for months, just decided to do all her sleeping at once.
So here I find myself, at the dawn of 2017 battling monsters (most of my own making) and preparing for an impossible quest that would put even poor Frodo to shame. But mostly, just trying to keep myself from falling down the rabbit hole. When you have an overactive imagination or FPP (Fantasy Prone Personality), life can be très hard.
It can cause you to lose friends, lose love and most often than not, lose yourself. Most things just never match up to the yumminess you’re capable of manifesting in your head.
And even when things do look promising, you never trust that it’s real or going to last…so you run faster than the gingerbread man (hoping you’ll be able to convince yourself those really were coffee-stealing ninjas that needed to be slayed.) You keep yourself on the other side of a looking glass, waiting for imaginary friends that never see you. Or have their own friends…people that unlike you have both feet stably rooted in reality.
Here is where books come in to save the day. Books (as vehicles of the fantastical) allow you to create a world from scratch. It lets you be in charge (not of the words written but the images, sounds and interpretations your mind can conjure)…without any nasty reality checks. It gives you power where reality can often render you powerless.
The outside world seems so dull That Amélie prefers to dream her life until she's old enough to leave
Good books can satisfy your creative impulses and provide you with the equality of eccentric that your heart craves. It can soften the loneliness one can feel when you’re the only one wearing rainbow-hued sunglasses sprinkled with magic dust.
So like young Amélie Poulain in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, we dig through the mundane and cruel to find a land full of possibilities. A world of wonders. Where things are marvelous and people are kind: where ambiguity makes perfect sense and we need not be godmothers of the outcast or Madonnas of the unloved.
As we let our minds build alternative worlds we find fantastical versions of ourselves that can’t be trapped or broken. Lies lose their sting and life gains a music box heartbeat.
Perhaps we find a tasty jar of hope.
Imagination is the introverts drug. It keeps us alive when our bodies and minds feel the pull of institutions that threaten to turn us into societal corpses. It doesn’t have to be a curse. It’s our freedom.