Edward Rochester: “‘I have been green too, Miss Eyre – ay, grass green…’”
Jane Eyre: “and now, at the first renewed view of him, [the germs of love] spontaneously revived, green and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”
“I had green eyes, reader…”
– Charlotte Brontë
I devised the idea of the World of my Heart in my Grade 12 English class. My teacher, who had taught me for three other English classes during high school, asked us to write a personal, more informal essay about our favourite place on earth, and I could not think of a single place to write about. The trouble was that most of my favourite places were not real. I had read Jane Eyre sometime during that semester, and I was beginning, like Jane herself, to consider Thornfield Hall to be my true home. But, if I wrote about Thornfield (I assumed, for some reason, that my teacher was creative and open-minded enough to allow me to write about a fictitious locale), then I couldn’t also write about the Beast’s enchanted castle (yes, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) or Madeline’s boarding school or Beetlejuice’s creepy and grotesque graveyard. And, if I chose to go the fictitious, fantastical route, I most certainly couldn’t write about my beloved, small town public library or about the university I had visited several times and dreamed of attending (I eventually would attend the University of Toronto, the following fall). There were just too many places that I loved, that I enjoyed spending time in, and my imagination was active enough (and thankfully still is!) to transport me to these locations any time I wished.
And then, inspiration struck, and I decided that the world of my imagination could be considered, in the most metaphorical sense, a place in and of itself. But the World of my Imagination didn’t sound catchy enough – it lacked the emotion and passion I was growing so fond of, and I wanted to express adequately that I felt something akin to actual love for these places. In this way, the World of my Heart was born – a world that contained settings from every time period I had ever visited, a world in which I could meet and converse with my favourite characters (they hadn’t fully been conceptualized as real people and real friends yet, but they would be soon), have parties with them and ask them for advice and get to know them, and subsequently myself, better.
I carried around this World of my Heart for years, and I found, as I began to become interested in creative writing, that every time I sat down to write my own story and create my own characters (now called friends), I retreated to this same world. It was there that I retired when I wrote my very first short story outside of a school curriculum, during the summer after my first year of university. This story is still my most cherished work, if only because I felt so accomplished and proud after writing it, and I became extremely attached to my main character, a man with emerald green eyes and a kind but troubled soul. Around this time, I started to colour all the hearts I doodled on my school notes green, and the World of my Heart became likewise tinted with these emerald shades. I had paid homage to all of my beloved literary works and literary idols by creating this character, and I had also paid tribute to my own feelings, longings, hopes and dreams.
The World of my Heart, in all its green glory, was the one place that could encompass and encapsulate everything I had loved and would ever love.