Yep. I Did That. And I’m Pretty Sure You Should Do It Too.
When I was a kid, my favorite thing in the world to do was to build forts.
Of course, “the world” consisted of my house, my neighborhood, and some woods behind my best friend’s house, so I didn’t know how many other non-fort related fun things there were to do in the world, the bigger world, the one beyond the realm of my own imagination.
So, forts it was.
Outside, the forts were limited to the selection of supplies the woods could provide and the ones my friend and I were brave enough to snake from our homes and stockpile among the branches and leaves and dirt. We had no hammers or nails, so our structures often consisted of precariously leaning logs and bent branches held to the ground with rocks and sometimes, just a maze of pathways and rooms raked through the leaves with nothing but imaginary doorways and walls. But it was enough.
Inside, we ran rampant. Huge blankets and sheets draped across furniture and lamps, tied to curtain rods and doorknobs, pinched tight inside closed drawers, and weighed down with books — massive behemoths that would fill entire rooms and sometimes stairwells, completely filled with pillows and stuffed animals and toy dishes and secret passages and all of the things necessary for a play house or a restaurant or a barber shop.
My friends always liked to get the fort built and get on with the game, because the set-up was just set-up, after all –not the fun part.
But for me, the creation was the fun part. I loved discovering that rubber bands could hold blankets to door knobs just fine and that curtains can actually be pulled away from the walls to create more coverage and that couch cushions made the sturdiest doorways. I loved convincing parents who thought they couldn’t get up the stairs that they could, in fact, crawl through the fort and experience for themselves the sheer awesomeness that can come with self-imposed confined spaces. I loved knowing which rooms were best for creating the most extensive structures, and I loved discovering new places to build and new ways to build them.
And sometimes now, as an adult, and even though I have an entire house to play with, I just want to grab a big blanket, drape it across my computer desk and office chair, and crawl inside.
I’m pretty sure it would make a fantastic fort. I could bring in a lamp and maybe some christmas lights, a glass of wine and a good book.
Then, when Justin comes into the room to tell me it’s time to do grown-up things like submit queries or pay bills, I’ll pretend he can’t find me because I’m inside my fort, and forts pretty much make you invisible.
Maybe a fort would stir my imagination again, like it did as a kid, and all of the stagnant bits that have drifted and settled at the base of my skull would float to the surface in a jostled frenzy of inspiration and creativity.
The pressure of time wouldn’t exist.
Just like when we were kids.