Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Make-believe, Pretend, and Dreams

Here’s something I should probably give a little more time, but I’m dashing it off anyway. The post I have been working on is turning into a book, so I am going to have to do something about that as well.

Maybe the kids I hung out with were a little weird, but we made a definite distinction between “pretend” and “make-believe”. Pretend was easy. “Pretend you are a Pirate”, or “Pretend my back yard is the moon’. Simple, for a kid. Make-believe was a whole ‘nother degree of difficulty. When we started a sentence with “Make believe ...”, it was understood that this was going to be a two-part project. First came the “make” part. We would sit and listen to an elaborate scenario, adding whatever exciting thoughts came to mind to make the story better.

A typical example might go, “Make believe the Germans (Hitler’s army) are right over that hill, and the ground drops away on the other side so we can’t see them” (It didn’t)

“Oh! and Mr. Genthner’s fence is really barbed wire!” (Split rail)

“And we have to stop them before they blow up the convoy that will be coming up Chestnut Street in 10 minutes!” (or whenever the next passing car supplied the sound effects.)

“And they have mortars and they’re shooting at us!” (Totally imaginary, but a passing bird might get labeled “MESSERSCHMITT!”)

And so on, until we agreed upon the whole elaborate scenario. And then we would play, pretending to believe for as long as the game lasted. If it was a really exciting day, we might go home, and dream about what we had done to win the war. The dream might mix in a healthy dose of stock black and white footage from “Combat” or “The Rat Patrol” or a number of other TV shows. This was life before computer and video games fed you the whole story, but it’s not much different in the end.

I think it is this ability for the human mind to see things that only exist in the head, and solidify those daydreams by actually dreaming about them, that is responsible for Faith, or belief without proof. Next time someone invites you to “believe”, imagine the word “make” in front of that proposal and see if it still makes sense.


At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes me think of the poem my mother used to recite when I was young: "I slept and dreamt that life was beauty, I woke and found that life was duty". Interpret that last word as you will!


At 11:47 PM, Blogger Delta said...

Next time someone invites you to “believe”, imagine the word “make” in front of that proposal and see if it still makes sense

I really like that. Very well-written post.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger BEAST FCD said...


I have been trying to publish a book myself, but to no avail.

Perhaps you can recommend your publisher to me?

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Romeo Morningwood said...

Yes I distinctly recall playing cowboys (not the bareback mountain kind..not that there is anything wrong with that) and First Nations or rather First Asians now that everyone is getting in on it. Anyway Yes, we pretended that the other kids were Nazis or Fascists or Revenue Canada Collectors and then we would sit and eat peanut butter sandwichs with them. Somehow we all seemed to be able to make believe like your friends did.

In todays middle east schoolchildren are signing autographs on missiles that are about to be dropped on the homes of 'EVIL' schoolchildren a few miles away. How f*ckin sick is that.

How can the cycle of violence ever be broken with that sort of nurturing in effect.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger concerned citizen said...

"believe" I used to struggle with that concept when it was foisted on me, until i realized "believing" is just a choice you make independent of logic & reason.
Like, believing in the Bible or UFO's or bigfoot.

"Make believe" is a good way to put it.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...


The sense of duty is indeed a complex mix of thoughts and emotions. It is fostered by love, a sense of obligation, concern, and social propaganda in a myriad of blends and mixtures. Ask 20 people and you won't get the exact same definition from any two of them.

Delta: Thanks!

Beast: I have replied on your blog.

Homo Escapions: I can only hope that better communication will cause a confusion of ideas that will work to the benefit of all mankind. Hopefully, more people will think for themselves with greater exposure to conflicting points of view. In other words, I'm hoping that someday, conflicting propaganda will cancel itself out.

l>t: "...believing is just a choice you make independent of logic & reason."

I like that! Thanks for joining in!

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Darius said...

We didn't use that verbal distinction, but we used to totally get into playing that way, for hours at a time. We had certain places that were particularly cool, such as under my grandmother's porch there was a kind of latticed enclosure. The ground was made of some kind of fine, powdery dirt, so as we were firing off our toy guns, we kept making "explosions" (handfuls of dirt) just miss us.

Healthy breathing, I suppose, but fun!

Beast and BL: Literary Market Place states: "If you are submitting a nonfiction book proposal without a marketing platform, {not to be confused w/ a marketing plan} you are wasting your time."

I'm told it's becoming pretty much the same for nonfiction.

I spent two years systematically trying to prove them wrong - I completed a nonfiction book two years ago that I'm well qualified to write experientially and academically, and that turned out well - even according to a few of the rejecting publishers who appeared to have actually fingered the proposal. I totally struck out.

As a housebound invalid, I can do nothing toward getting a marketing platform, but if I could, that's what I'd be doing...

Btw, self publishing almost never works out. The exceptions are much fewer and further between than the PODs would have you believe. Did a lot of research there as well.

So I actually have a total of 3 manuscripts and a fourth I don't think I'm going to bother completing - 25 years of work. For nothing. I mean, I enjoyed, very much, the creative stages, but the bother of finishing it off "for publication" and sending it out, was a complete waste of my time. But if you're not an invalid, you can at least attempt to get the platform. That's actually why I started blogging, but doing a blog, where it's pretty much tit for tat, comment for a comment, one at a time, is no way to build up a sizeable readership in a serious content area like spirituality/religion.

Plus you're prevented from blogging your best writing, because that's considered giving away "first rights" by most publishers, who will then be even less interested in publishing it. The whole experience has been pretty disillusioning. In the past, publishers were largely family owned businesses interested in writing as well as money. Today everything is about increasing the profit margin year after year. Decisions on what books to accept are made by marketing boards, not editors, and there's zero interest in taking a chance on an unknown author just because the ideas/writing are good. That's the reality, I'm afraid, unless you've got personal publishing industry connections.


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