I found myself lost in some deep trench of books, deep within the endless metal shelves of smelly old books on the fourth floor of the library. I don’t even know what I was even looking for by this point. After countless failed attempts to find one of the many books I wanted, I somehow ended up in this section where every book was probably written before 1980.
A gold glint caught my eye and lead me to a tan book with gold embossed words that read, “Within Worlds.” That sounded right up my alley. Turned out to be this little book charted the history of children's fantasy from middle ages up to 1980. Not long after I checked the book out, I found myself reading these words.
Fantasists themselves have childlike quality. They have a natural love of storytelling. Most importantly, however, they respect the qualities of children - curiosity, a sense of wonder, a love of the fabulous, and an ability to see to the heart of things with courage and honesty. Fantasists recognize that such assets should not be lost with the ending of childhood, but are the ones that are necessary for all mature and sensitive human beings.
Yes. Yes. Yes. If I had a mantra it would be found in this phrase - curiosity, a sense of wonder, a love of the fabulous and the ability to see to the heart of things with courage and honesty. I think we could all use a little more childlike qualities. No matter your age, you’re never too old to believe in happily ever after, once upon a time, and a long long time ago. Childhood should not die in the grave of adulthood, but only resurrect with greater purpose.
There is a big difference between being childlike, and childish. Childlike is expressed above, whereas childish brings to mind children's self centeredness, all the immature things we do out of ignorance. It is not that we should shed those childlike qualities like old clothes we grow out of - rather maturity is about embracing those qualities into our lives. After all - courage, honesty, heart, curiosity, wonder, love, are beliefs and emotions I hope I never grow out of, rather I hope to keep chasing after my childhood, to never let it slip away from me and hold on to that precious perspective all kids hold in life!
In closing I will end with one more quote from Egoff that sums it up best:
“One of the world’s greatest scientists might have been speaking of fantasy when he said: “The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of science, he who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feels amazement is as good as dead.”