A "What Do You Believe?" essay by Molly Brown

I believe in the power of imagination. I believe in the breed of imagination in which a bucket becomes a space helmet, an old towel a magic cloak, and a cardboard box a pirate ship. I believe when life seems bleak, all we need is enough imagination to remember there is always another sunrise, no matter how dark the night.

Imagination first bewitched me at a very young age. My parents owned a bookshop—one of those charming, small town, independent types that inevitably end in heartbreak—and it was here I grew up. I read classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Little Prince, and Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, as well as works from upstart authors such as one J.K. Rowling—who, in my six-year old self's opinion, had something quite special and was going to be immensely popular. In the bookshop, I was greeted by imagination at every turn, captured and bound within the pages of books. These books were passports, to anywhere and everywhere I wanted to go. I could swim through the deepest oceans, climb the highest mountains, travel back in time, and skyrocket into the future whenever I wanted, all within the comfort of my chair. If I ever had to leave, whether by choice or by order of higher authority, I only had to mark my place with a bit of ribbon and these worlds would be there waiting patiently for my return.

Eight year olds think their world is invincible, and my world was the bookshop. I should have known something this special would not last. When that inevitable heartbreak happened and we were forced to close our doors, I was devastated. I had lost my personal library, clubhouse, and bulwark all in one go. It was like someone in the family had died, and though I had experience dealing with grief, I was still eight years old. I felt so lost, so I sought refuge in imagination, in the books that had sheltered me from pain before. In my quest for solace, I forced myself to search for the sunrise.

Beyond a child's, literary, or in my particular case, child's literary perception of imagination, I believe the same essence of imagination that exists in the pages of a storybook or in a game of make believe exists everywhere, and I believe it stays with us no matter how old we get or how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. I believe it is this essence that is responsible for all the scientific miracles, social shifts, and artistic wonders of the world. I believe this essence shall lead to the end of global conflict, the preservation of our planet, and a brighter future for all. I believe in the imagination of the sunrise. In its optimism, I truly believe we can achieve this brighter future. This I will forever believe.


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