Wow! It’s silent in the house right now. Bare minutes ago there were dogs barking, a couple of kids fencing, and a whole lot of nonsensical screaming.
Actually, the dogs were warning all of us about the alien that landed. It happened to be our very own Julian pig out of his pen. He’s named Wilber. It seems that the smallest of our pigs has struck up a friendship with the pony (the disabled unicorn). The two of them look like newfound BFFs. Even though the pig is hairy and ugly as hemorrhoid, the whole thing is very cute.
When I was a dashing sword fighter as a kid (debonair only in my mind but that was enough) I imagined myself as Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks Jr. That was natural, because I watched many an old black and white movie, and I loved the pirate action things. My sword was made of the tube left from an aluminum foil roll or a wax paper roll, perhaps even some sort of scrap left over from a wooden building project. Today’s swords are plastic. They look real as hell and are complete with sound effects that make me duck down or dance out of the way (in a way only a sixty-six-year-old can). Needs to be on video; my children tell me it is definitely not attractive. The kids imagine themselves as maybe a Jedi knight, some kind of Darth or other, a super Ranger, or a mutant Turtle.
The key thing about all of this is pretending. Pretense makes it all possible. Imagination.
I love imagination! It’s key to so many things. If you think it’s only for kids you are wrong, and you’d better check your underwear, because you may have them on backward. What do you think started the roads to every success known to humankind? What do you think helped old Cro-Magnon to pick up that big rock, stand up straight, and hit the damn deer? What in the world happened before every single invention was fully realized?
Do you think Bill Gates simply fell into a big pile of money? First, he had to have a vision of what he wanted.
I haven’t begun to talk about how any of the arts are based and rooted in imagination and which, by the way, had a huge hand in developing every culture we have ever had.
We use imagination in everything we do.
Hell’s fire. I’m a writer. My job is to use my flights of fantasy to spark other people to use their own mental resourcefulness in an enjoyable way.
The older you get the more wrinkles you find. I don’t mean folds in skin here. What I’m spouting about now are hidden perceptions. I use my inventiveness to shove, pull, or drag another person along with what I write. Doing so gives me an opportunity to then envision how you receive my labors.
I cannot lie here. I really enjoy digging around in the old cranium to find my way through a complicated plot, to find and design unexpected twists, and deceive a reader into thinking they know what will happen and then chuck a few surprises their way. But there are different levels of enjoyment at play. What about when you recommend a story from a book, a play, or a movie you enjoyed then have them come back to you and say, “That was great!” or “That scared the shit out of me.” Don’t you have that vicarious feeling of satisfaction?
Writers and authors do too.
That reminds me. Reviews work. We need them. It gives the creators a leg up and completes the circuit with feedback.
Enough of the commercial.
The question I really feel the need to ask you is: If imagination is so important, why do we discourage it in school?
I don’t know about other countries, but here in the States, the first thing that gets cut from the budgets are the classes that deal with creativity. Á-la the arts. I have had English teachers tell me to let my imagination go, and when I did they said things weren’t believable. They never instructed me on how to control what I did, and in no way did they begin to show me how to control it. The business teacher mentioned vision, but only a statement or two, usually in one class period as an introduction. Athletics spend more times telling students to do what they are told in the name of teamwork.
In the younger grades, the teacher spends more time telling their charges to stop daydreaming. About the time they stop demanding that, they also cease letting them experiment with ways to use their imagination.
Sounds to me that the reason the world has so few Bill Gates, a Michelangelo, or even entrepreneurs whose businesses do not fail is a lack of imagination.
Want your progeny to succeed? Let the little stinkers sing, dance, draw, paint, write and play games that have to do with making shit up, not pushing a damn button as quick as their neurons will let them.
What do you think?
By the way —
If you haven’t bought my book it is The Sigma Factor and on sale at Amazon.com; Bn.com;Smashwords.com; or check your local bookstores. It’s only a few bucks and a hell of a lot of fun.