“Mr. Browne, I’ve left my purse behind. I’ve not got a penny. I can’t pay for the ticket. Will you take my watch, please? I am in the most awful hole.”
“Tickets on this line,” said the driver, “whether single or return, can be purchased by coinage from no terrene mint….”
“It is good of you about the ticket. But if you go on at this rate, however does your bus pay?”
“It does not pay. It was not intended to pay. Many are the faults of my equipage; it is compounded too curiously of foreign woods; its cushions tickle erudition rather than promote repose…But that it pays!—that error at all events was never intended and never attained.”
—from The Celestial Omnibus, by E.M. Forster
Just as we may enjoy the creation and contemplation of nonexistent worlds, so too may we take pleasure in imagining them down to their smallest and most varied details: oceans, forests, deserts, seacoasts, roads, towns, costumes, commerce, and customs.
In summoning up such nations of the Imagination, we tend to parallel the operation of our everyday worlds. We could imagine countries free of any ordinary onus, like money or law or time or travel; yet we choose to perfect (as we imagine) rather than eliminate money, law, time, or travel. We coin our own money, obey statutes enacted by our own legislative thoughts, build and set our own clocks to divide and tell our own time, and travel in carriages of our own manufacture across lands and seas of our own creation.
In fashioning our world of Imagination, we do not wish to destroy the world as it is. We only desire to make the world as each of us wishes it to be—and can never agree upon with everyone else.
From the scrapbook of one of these dreamers come two banknotes issued by the Imagi-Nation Treasury: