Flights of Fancy

Inside A Writer's Mind

Defined: An unrealistic idea or fantastic notion, a pipe dream. For example, She engaged in flights of fancy, such as owning a million-dollar house . This idiom uses flight  in the sense of “a soaring of the imagination,” a usage dating from the mid-1600s.

 (This ends the series of posts exploring the creative process. Thanks kindly to the readers who commented and read through and explored along with me).

I give way to flights of fancy as easily as a woman invests in a pair of sleek black boots that hug her calves just so or as another greedily eats Belgium chocolate bars from a secret stash buried beneath the La Perla Chemise she bought for him.  As does the woman impulse buying Ferragamos at Neiman Marcus without consideration, I too do not cross-examine my silly notions.

If I had my dithers, I’d live out my follies large and vibrantly. Sadly, there are limits, such as money, time, and my humanness. If held back by the boundaries of reality the writer in me takes over and erases the lines confining my earth bound self.  Thus is the luxury of a writer’s imagination.  When reality limits me, I write myself into a scene and live my flights in Lucas’s DOLBY THX, accompanied by Crayola’s 64 box of crayons, my page no longer blank.

Today I am a woman with eyes the color of Cadbury’s Bourneville chocolate that matches my hair color but not my skin.  I am average height wearing Doc Marten’s walking with purpose down Market Street in San Francisco but tomorrow I am slightly taller than average, sporting pink suede ankle-high gladiator sandals. My eyes, the color of the Mediterranean, my skin is milky-white, and the silver-gray hair on my head is so short it spikes. I am in Cape Horn sitting in a bar at the edge of the sea reading the journals of my dead husband that I found in the back of the closet in a chest after he died. He had secrets I never knew.

Last year I hiked to the bottom of El Yunque—a rainforest in Puerto Rico—in Asics running shoes.  My heart’s desire was to take a rejuvenating shower under pristine mineral-rich waterfalls. My folly completed, I stood at the bottom looking up wondering why I hadn’t considered the downside. The hike back up under a deluge of rain nearly broke me. The air so thick and heavy trapped my breath behind my organs made me wish for the wings of Pegasus, even the Nimbus 2000, Harry Potter’s broom, would have been welcome that sultry afternoon.


I am waiting for inspiration to seep through me in my next breath, waiting for the words fill the blank page. Until then I am lost in the abyss and wait for my muse, Tobias.  He’s lanky with silver hair, grey eyes, and hands the size of dinner plates.  He is a rogue, and often deserts me for the Tapas bars in Barcelona where the women are curvy, will twirl, flutter, and mouth come hither. His dependability is not bankable.

For now, I am alone and staring down the barrel of Doc Holiday’s pearl-handed six-shooter in the twilight before nightfall.  Tomas, although ethereal, tells me a writer’s life—in training or seasoned—is a solitary pursuit, and that writers are like Jack London’s Buck, who after several tribulations follows the Call of the Wild. Tobias also tells me that writers write for reasons even they do not know, and if pressed for the why of something they’ll confess they do not always know where they stories grow.  They just grow.

I have always experienced life in pictures and music. I am a hopeless, incurable romantic that falls deeply in a matter of seconds. Most especially if he is lanky, brilliant, and a Gemini.  Annie, get your gun.  But mostly, I am prone to flights of fancy, even if they are lived out on the blank page where I create someone to open the mysterious box  at the back of the closet where ten year’s worth of  journals–pages filled–were left, but not for me.

What do you do when your reality is limited but your heart yearns to fly?

This post was inspired by Kelly Hashway’s, Where Do You See YourselfThanks for the inspiration, Kelly. 


I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

26 thoughts on “Flights of Fancy

  1. Thanks for the mention. :) I think we’ll always dream bigger than our reality. That’s human nature. But dreams are good. They make us strive for achievement. I say keep dreaming. If we had Harry’s wand, things would come too easily for us. Having to work to achieve our dreams make them more satisfying and meaningful in the end.

    • You are welcome, Kelly. I agree. That last few posts exploring the creative process were more of a writing exercise for me, the writer. Unpacking the process, repacking, dusting off old photos, and stretching the writing muscles and wondering if the mystery reveled itself to me as I explored. It was me walking through the rainforest with my kids and never in my life did I wish for wings to fly to the top. :-) In that one instance, I did wish for it to be easy.

    • Linda, thanks kindly. I confess a love of writing. I didn’t think I would enjoy blogging – but I do. It allows me to play and experiment. Who knew it would be so fun.

  2. When my reality is limited? Really, I’m not sure it ever is, unless I’m the one doing the limiting, of course. But when I need to just get into my head and shut everything else out I head to my garden. Digging, raking, pruning, planting, all calm me down and take me away…my neighbors must be used to my shrieks when the family finds me and shocks me back to reality.

    • Jennifer – I say, who cares what the neighbors think. I hate gardening of any kind (except for tomatoes, I will try) and won’t be found in the dirt working out a story. I walk or turn to music. I find there is always something I want to write but not always blog appropriate. I even debated posting the writes on the writing process because they are more a writer’s folly than bloggy. Sometimes I want to write love letter to an imaginary lover, from one character to another.. well actually I do, but those writers either appear in a story or remain buried in the hard drive. You’re right on thing – many really, but what I agree with you completely on is its the writer that limits the writer. I remind myself to write whatever my heart wants.

  3. I really enjoyed this post…You describe things beautifully. When I need a release and my heart years to fly but my feet remain on the ground I go out into nature. It’s there where my soul takes flight with the birds or rides along the river’s currents. It’s there where I find the most rest when I feel restless.

    • Jessica, thanks much. When I started writing, I wrote the door is red. It’s a journey to find your stride in the writing process. You too have a away of describing, ‘my soul takes flight …river’s current…” lovely.

  4. You could fire Tobias, you know, and hire someone more faithful. Or, you could write from your own unique genius without him. And, if he shows up, just say, “Have a seat. Be with you shortly. I’m busy writing.”

    I experience life in pictures and music too. On flights of fancy… I wrote a novel just because I could. Just because I didn’t want to die with the music in me. Just because I wanted to impress my literary mentor. Just because.
    Then I wrote an educational memoir. Next a spiritual memoir. And so on.

    For me, it all boils down to the joy of constructing sentences. Of making meaning out of my world. Of completing thoughts.

    • Debra – I’d fire Tobias but he bares a strange resemblance to one of those lost loves. Funny how that happened. I’ve learned long ago to write with or without him. These books you’ve written. Are you seeking publication or are they published? I confess the more the write, the more I grow and explore. I find myself reading more and entertaining new and unexpected types of characters. It’s kind of exciting.

  5. Some nights I wake up and can’t go back to sleep because of how ‘stuck’ I feel in the reality. I’m still not where I wish to be yet and I fear not getting there soon enough. In this lifetime. The only thing I could do is to take the next small step. Coax my heart to patience.

    You are a romantic, Brenda. Don’t have it any other way …

    • Claudine – I think you’ve figured me out. Sadly or not so sadly, I am a romantic. I wonder sometimes if it’s a curse or a blessing. And you are not alone, we all coax our hearts along from time to time. I did that this very morning after waking up. I had to push through my angst about finding an agent. After a couple minutes I smacked that old doubt away and reminded myself I was indeed a writer and I would just have to buck up.

  6. Brenda… continue to fly let your heart fly to places that you have created…. as you will achieve and reach it after all reality is impermanent…..

  7. When my reality is limited I close my eyes and imagine. I make up scenarios, pretend situations, I conjure up the absurd and make myself laugh, and hope against hope that a thought, a sentence, or an image will come to me that I can write down and further my story along. And that’s what I do.

    Got your comment today about the letter writing. Let me know how it’ll work and I’m in! :)

    • Monica .. it is true writing for the sake of writing is the answer. Some where around page three or ten is where we step into ourselves and find the inspiration we needed. I am still working out the best and easiest way to manage the letter concept. More when I do..

    • Emily – we writers need to inspire one another. You inspire me, and on it goes, we pay forward. You never know where the next great post or story will come from until it dances in from of your eyes.

  8. —I ALWAYS enjoy & savor what you have to say, Brenda…

    **What do you I when your reality is limited but my heart yearns to fly?**

    I write. I write. I write.

    And the words ( usually ) usually take me where I want to go…

    Xxx Love

    • I am glad, Kim. The past few posts were more for me to work through the creative process, more an extension of what is going on in my mind. I had a tinge of guilt last week after hitting publish, then I remembered.. readers have a choice and can skip the post. I know you, write, write, write. This is the beauty of you.

  9. Today I am a taller-than-average woman wearing fisherman flat sandals and a slightly gothic full skirt with tight black jacket – who wishes she could delve into flights of fancy as easily and gracefully as you do Brenda. Love your dramatic romantic writing. You do have great style. Hope Tobias helps you come up with some great new stuff, but you seem to do pretty well even when he’s off partying with some curvaceous dancing girl.

    • Hi Carole… I love your look. I guess I am a romantic writer although I’d never thought I was until others stared saying it. How funny that we see others so clearly but not ourselves so much. That’s probably why I labor so hard over query letters and writing bios. Painful for me.. Tobias is a rogue. I only keep him around as eye candy.

  10. Brenda, when my heart yearns to fly I visit my alternate reality. It takes me to mysterious and wondrous places filled with aromatic food, beautiful beaches and hot men with six-pack abs. hee hee! Writing transports me but then so do memories, aromas, music. I read the part of hiking in the Yunque and I smiled from ear to ear. The Significant Other and I did that back in 2002 and we got soaked on our way up! But oh my, was it a magical day! I’m grinning as I remember the cascades of water, huge leaves and the trails! How I miss that beautiful island! :)

    • Bella – on that post, that was the only part that was true. I did make that hike. I did almost want to die on the way up. I did walk up under a deluge of rain. You’re right – it’s a beautiful place and one of my favorite vacations. I don’t know, it just was.

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