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Warning: Fantasylands are not suitable for people without imaginations. Race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, ethnicity, and/or nationality are not disqualifying characteristics for finding and enjoying your fantasyland, despite what you might see in books or movies. Proceed at your own risk.

Step 1.

Search your house or your uncle’s house or just some stranger’s place who happened to leave their front door ajar. Find a wardrobe. The walk-in type is preferable. Climb in and shut the door. If your fantasyland does not begin to manifest itself within 1 to 5 minutes, open the door to the wardrobe and try again or try a different set of furniture. A dark closet will also work well.

Step 2.

Find a non-name brand board game, hidden and dusty. It’s best if the instructions have been lost or misplaced or eaten by a rare and exoctic animal. Start making up rules. Make sure to gather close friends or attractive and curious acquaintances around before embarking on the discovery of this fantasyland. It’s best not traversed alone. Especially if you’ve found an Ouija board.

Step 3.

Find a forest or a creek that’s not part of protected land or someone’s sacred land. Get lost with some friends and try to find your way back. If you haven’t discovered your fantasyland after 15 minutes, abandon your friends. They are not worthwhile, anyway. Once alone, or maybe you’re like me and you started this adventure that way, practice using different voices for the various members of your party. Portals to fantasylands are often receptive to voices or can be tricked open if convinced that you are a party of adventurers up to no good.

Step 4.

If unable to do any of the above because a portal protector—your parents, your boss, or another unimaginative smellfungus—is nearby, find the closest window and stare at an object that has a repeated but unpredictable motion—a tree blowing in the wind, smoke from a chimney, the flock of birds that swirl around the sky. It could be anything. Stare at the object for as long as it takes or until the portal protector prevents you from entering your fantasyland.

Step 5.

If no window is available to you, find a stack of unorganized things. Imagine their organization—how Marie Kondo might spark joy or how a fire is a quick way to organize anything. Or just stare. A fantasyland should find you in an hour or so.

Step 6.

Open a book. If it is filled with words, read them until your fantasyland carries you away. If this does not happen within 5 minutes, or the book is bleak, find a writing instrument and begin writing. Do not trouble yourself with thinking about what to write. Just start writing a letter and move to a word and then to a sentence. Organization is less important than recklessness when adventuring to a fantasyland. You’ll soon find a paragraph before you and as you turn the page to continue, you may realize that you’ve found your fantasyland. Do not let this realization disrupt your journey. If necessary, avoid realizations all together.

Step 7.

If drawing is easier, do that. A book is always an open portal to a fantasyland. Getting there is your decision.

Thomas Viehe

Thomas Viehe prefers pop over soda, loo over toilet, fall over autumn. He lives with his wife and dog in a remote part of the country, Washington, D.C.

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