“Today the ruby slippers went on auction,” I wrote to my college-aged daughter in November, 2011. “They’re expected to be sold for 2 or 3 million dollars!”
Audrey and I share a love of old movies, including The Wizard of Oz.
I went on to say, “And that’s only one of the pairs. This happens to be the pair Judy Garland wore when she was clicking her heels, saying, ‘There’s no place like home.’ But sad to say, I will not be bidding on these!”
Audrey wrote back:
“If I had 10 million dollars, I would spend three million on the slippers, and give the rest to the church as penance for spending so much on such a trifle . . .”
Actually, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t buy the slippers even if she did have 10 million dollars. This is the same daughter who thought the Palace of Versailles should be turned into a homeless shelter.
Speaking of the ruby slippers . . . they were really silver slippers in the book by L. Frank Baum, but silver wouldn’t show up very well against the Yellow Brick Road.
As usual, the film director used artistic license when adapting book to screen. Novelists use this license, too, when taking real-life situations from their observations and experience. Authors imbue them with new perspective and mix in original characters.
And Baum, who understood children and their needs for wonderment and fantasy, gave plenty of fodder for young imaginations to grow and bloom.
“Stunt, dwarf, or destroy the imagination of a child,
and you have taken away its chances of success in life.
Imagination transforms the commonplace into the great
and creates the new out of the old.”
— L. Frank Baum,
1909 interview The Advance magazine
If the kindergarten teachers of the world had understood this in the 1960s, would we be in a different place today?
I’ve always believed that if you can teach a child to create rather than destroy, he’ll be headed in a good direction. If he feels good about what he can create, he won’t have reason to destroy.
For by creating, you have a little bit of the world in your hands, to shape and bring under your control. You’re contributing to your community’s well-being, and to your own mental health.
“Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages
to its present state of civilization.
Imagination led Columbus to discover America.
Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity.
Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone,
the talking-machine and the automobile,
for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities.
So I believe that dreams – day dreams, you know,
with your eyes wide open and your brain-machinery whizzing –
are likely to lead to the betterment of the world.
The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman
most apt to create, to invent,
and therefore to foster civilization.”
—L. Frank Baum in Preface to The Lost Princess of Oz, 1917
Thank you, Mr. Baum. He’s one of my favorites, by the way. More on him later.
Incidentally, he disliked school. His main memory was being tagged as a daydreamer and being chided for being left-handed.
We’ve all probably been asked the question: What would you do with a million dollars?
Would you buy the ruby slippers? Or turn Versailles into a homeless shelter?
But today I’m wondering . . . what would you do if you had enough money to create anything you want?
Or are you already creating what you want? Whether it’s a painting, a room, a building, a lifestyle, a business, a non-profit/charity, a family, a story, a legacy . . .
Please add your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
P.S. I will be featuring several fellow creatives as guests. So whether you have a muse that plagues you or just want to be inspired, please watch for my future posts! My guests will be answering these questions:
1. What do you love to create?
2. Where do you get your ideas?
3. How do you create? Say something about your creative process.
4. How do you bring creativity into your daily life?
5. Any tips for others who want to create (write/draw/design, etc.)?