Peter Pan / J. M. Barrie ; illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

*This was a post I started back in September of 2013.

Finding Never Never Land

Why imagination isn’t all we’ve been missing

When I was a boy, there were several sources of inspiration I think led to the development of my imagination and how I’ve learned to look at things now as an adult. Part of that comes from who I am, but another part was kindled by Sir J. M. Barrie’s work, “Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”. A play that (most commonly is knows as simply “Peter Pan”) was probably one of the most influential stories from my early childhood.

Most of you are already familiar with it. In case some of you have missed out on this classic tale; it is about a young boy who could fly and never wanted to grow up. He lived in a wonderful place far away called “Neverland”. It follows the adventures of Peter, Wendy and her brothers, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, and a fairy named Tinker Bell.

“…Second star to the right, and straight on till morning”.

Barrie’s play captured both young and old imaginations. When he wrote it, he drew inspiration from a woman and her sons (The Llewelyn Davies boys) whom he had developed a friendship. By participating in the boys form of play, he opened up his imagination. It was engaging in imaginative play with this family that inspired him to write some of the most creative work in his life.

Barrie’s imagination realized through theatre helped his audience engage in a new and pretend world. To create this kind of work, it would be very difficult to just sit down and write it, without first drawing on inspiration.

Here’s a scene from the movie “Finding Neverland” that shows how members of the audience were encouraged to clap in order to save a poor helpless fairy from her demise.

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I love the childishness of this story and how it inspired me as a young boy to make-believe. Even now as I am an adult, I still have the urge to pretend.

We all have a place that we retreat to. I like to remember the way I thought of things when I was a child. Looking at the world through a child’s eyes opens my mind and my heart up to more magical and limitless realms of possibility.