Disney. The one person that I might mention if you asked me who it is I would like to have dinner with, living or dead.
The reason why is he made the magical world he created in his mind a reality.
As a child, I didn’t think much of reality. People weren’t very good, or interesting. Animals couldn’t talk. There was no magic. So, I’d make stuff up. Invented worlds, in my head, with invented (usually non-human) creatures, and I’d go there all the time. And I loved reading science-fiction/fantasy books where the author would create an entirely new world, with fascinating inhabitants. I loved, too, role playing video games that did the same thing (I’m a former Final Fantasy addict).
The real world looked so drab in comparison.
My main source of depression as a child was believing, wholeheartedly, that the world I actually lived in could never even approximate the wondrous ones I and others could dream up.
But then you’ve got someone like Walt Disney, with a playful, wondrous imagination who was so driven, so optimistic, so unwilling to yield to reality, that he no shit literally created — with brick and mortar — his magical world here, in this reality.
I bought his biography a few months ago. It’s very long. I made a small dent in it, forgot about it for a while, and then recently turned back to it after finishing Brave New World.
I think the hardest part about reading it is understanding the degree to which I am nothing like Walt.
In the beginning, he struggled, but never truly worried, even when he couldn’t afford to eat. He fell back, feeling confident others would catch him–and time and time again, they did. He took on numerous loans from family members, acquaintances, anyone who would say yes. He kept creating and believing in himself even when ALL he got was rejection. He was, without doubt, more committed to his vision than anything and everything else (looking good, pride, ego, comfort). He was truly willing to do whatever it took.
Kyla is very, very, very far from all of that. She can’t even CONCEIVE of being in that place. She even started JUDGING Walt as she was reading his biography. How could he shamelessly borrow money like that?! How could he not eat, and walk around in dirty, torn clothing?! How could he dig in trashcans for clothes and food?! HEY, WALT: GROW UP AND GET A JOB. And all in the name of the silly cartoons he was drawing that no one gave two shits about.
You realize, of course (and I realize), how absurd those thoughts are; I know (and you know, and everyone knows) how this story ends: with a man who became insanely successful and single-handedly changed the world.
Jimmy asked me what quality of mine I’d most like our child to inherit.
I answered, without much hesitation, “being a visionary.” Being someone who is able to powerfully imagine incredible things that do not exist.
One problem. I’m missing the Walt part of it, which is: being able to actually create the things I imagine. Imagining only gets you so far. It gives you escape, but it contributes nothing. It changes nothing.
Another problem: Walt was like that — committed, in action, unapologetic about his dreams and determined to make them a reality — from the beginning. From when he was a very young man. A child, even.
How do I cultivate that in myself as an adult — from nothing?
But, maybe I already have it? The truth is I have manifested a lot in my life by sheer commitment and will. Getting out of El Paso, Texas. Living in Hawaii. Marrying a southern military man (I have a fetish for raw masculinity). Becoming a lawyer in a major city. Living in New York City.
And then after my marriage failed, and I finally got back up again and turned my Manifester back on, I manifested (1) a lawyer job with more visibility, hands-on opportunities and a flexible schedule to make room for my life; (2) a new masculine man, but this time with great emotional maturity and a sweet, soft, romantic underbelly; (3) being a singer — on a stage, in a band; and (4) sweet, wonderful sobriety.
Not everyone agreed with those choices, either. Things I heard were: Going to a state school in Hawaii will get you nowhere in life. You’ll get island fever and beg to come home. Way too young to marry. New York City is too expensive and it will eat a little girl from southwestern Texas alive. The small firm is a giant step backwards. Jimmy is too old and he doesn’t make enough money. You don’t have time to pursue singing and be in a band — be serious. So, that cult brainwashed you so bad that you don’t even drink anymore…? Jesus, just have a beer.
Didn’t stop me. Didn’t cause me to waver in my choices. I was committed, and not no one was going to change my mind.
So: I already have the Walt skill! WHEW, what a relief. I’ve had it from the beginning, too, just like he did. One of the big things I manifested as a child was a horse of my own, from two city slicker parents who had said nothing but NO, NO, NO for years.
I just didn’t direct it toward pursuing my creativity and imagination. Until now.
Wondrous Imagination, meet Manifester. Manifester, meet Wondrous Imagination.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship…