Early Days

In her 1914 book Una Mary: The Inner Life of a Child, Una Hunt, the daughter of geologist Frank Wigglesworth Clarke, set out to describe the subjective world of her young girlhood. Here’s an example — she had created an imaginary land she called My Country in which her alternate self, Una Mary, lived, and then established it in the Persian rug in the parlor, where her chessmen could play out their adventures:

A very yellow palm-leaf in one corner of the pattern was the Holy Land. I thought it was holey, full of holes. I had simply heard some one speak of having been there the winter before, and the name sounded sunny and yellow, a cheerful sort of place, full of caves in the soft rock. I thought the whole country must look rather like Swiss cheese to deserve its name. The Holy Land was, of course, simply infested by robbers. The Forty Thieves lived there, each with a cave to himself, all in a row, and for some reason it was always there that we hid from pirates.

The outside border of the rug was the sea. I felt sure, of course, that the world was bounded by the sea and if you sailed to the edge the ship would fall off, so the chessmen were always careful not to go beyond the second stripe of the border outside. …

The stem of one flower was the Charles River, where I had found the turtle eggs, and another was The Amazon. Always that name has fascinated me, The Amazon, and I feel sure the river itself is a tawny orange zigzag with huge, many-colored leaves and flowers growing out of it at unexpected angles. It was like that on the rug, and I chose that particular stem to be The Amazon because its color was like the sound of the word. There was another reason besides the fascination of the name itself which later made me include it in the geography of My Country, and that was because Brazil was my only association with Royalty.

Psychologist G. Stanley Hall said, “I would rather have written it myself than to have made any study of childhood that has ever appeared.” The whole thing is here.