I had a strong desire two days ago to watch the old movie version of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". It was sparked by listening to a radio theatre production of the book and feeling like I was listening to the story of an actual place I had spent time.
Narnia was, and at times still is, a very real place for me. An actual experience. Produced by reading and imagining. This experience of knowing a place that does not exist felt like an inverted experience of my visit to Walden Pond: the present Walden was not the one I had known; Narnia is a place I know but a promise I will never actually see falsified because I will never be able to get there.
I've even had dreams about Narnia. About snow and a wardrobe and running from the White Witch while the snow melted. It sadly disolved into a world with parking lots at some point and I kept trying to get back but couldn't.
The love of an imaginary place is deep in my memory. From my earliest memories, many years before the ability to read, I used the book cover as a jumping point for my internal story telling. I don't understand quite why this picture so inspired me and drew me into reading, poor design it may now be considered.
Music also takes me back to this nonexistent place. he music at the beginning of this video has a strong visceral response in my gut. Lots of memories of watching it. The sounds and experiences are so deeply played in my life that they are almost sounds and experiences that belong to me. As if I have actually been there.
I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not alone in walking into closets and wondering if this time the pack of the closet won't be there. And perhaps others have had a similar experience with other places or stories.
What is it that makes such a love for the imaginary places? What is it about art that weaves its way into the pre-memory, pre-literate heart and makes it grow? And why does it seem so right that is should be so?