Imagination: It’s not for the faint of heart.

I love this. Hover over the image get the mouseover caption, too.

There’s really nothing like an imagination. Nobody can teach it to you; nobody can force you to have one. People can help you along, I suppose—but it has to be yours, and yours alone.

Maybe this is why kids with “big imaginations” can sometimes feel like outsiders. I know I did. I remember being overwhelmed with the feeling of being stuck in my own skin; I stared into mirrors, pondering the mystery that I was ME and not somebody else. And really, nobody else can know what it’s like, to be me, just like I can’t know what it’s like to be you.

It can be a very lonely feeling. Words are an approximation, we can’t really understand each other, why do we bother: I could go on a long postmodern-leaning spiral here until I work myself into a depressed funk. I don’t think I’ll do that.

Because the great thing about being ME, and not somebody else, is that I see things nobody else will, and I can share them. I’m a sharer from way back. If I had a kaleidoscope, I’d want a camera attached so I could show you a picture of every cool thing I saw. When I find something I love, I have a burning need to show it to someone. I actually get really agitated about this. This happened the other day: the roommates were gone, internet went down, and I had just read a REALLY COOL AMAZING ARTICLE! (You know it’s amazing when it’s in all caps.) A person gets desperate. She takes drastic measures. She starts a Twitter account. (It’s also this kind of desperation that leads people to start blogs…cough…just sayin’…)

I love reading because I can see what other people are thinking. I can’t quite get inside their skin—but I can get awfully close. The beauty of words is the bridge they string between people: you describe, and sometimes I can see it! I feel like I should break out into song right about now.

The hills are alive!

With the sound of music!

Okay, I’m done.

Of course, half the time I love something, people don’t get it, or love it for entirely different reasons. This is also the beauty of imagination—you see an apple, I see an apple pie. (Haha! I’m so cute! I couldn’t think of a better example.)

This whole blog is a product of my massive sharing impulse, so here we go. I’ll share some stuff.  I’m restraining myself. Here’s a few articles  that I have really enjoyed—for your perusal. Let your imagination run like a banshee.*

The Rabbit Room–a group of artists and writers in the vein of the Inklings (C.S.Lewis, Tolkien and others). I like them because they’re more interested in making good art and being good human beings than in marketing themselves. It’s a breath of fresh air.

The Ennobling Fantasy of J.R.R.Tolkien–First in a fantastic four-part blog on why Lord of the Rings is not just another sloppy fantasy, and it can’t be blown off as “religious fiction”. It’s much better than that. (This was the all caps article.)

Kaleidoscope Heart is the first song on Sara Bareilles’ latest album, and I think she’s outdone herself. (If that’s possible–she’s harmonizing with herself, so…) Stop by her site to listen to the rest of the album.

“Confessions”–I first read James Calvin Schaap in writing classes, but it wasn’t till I read his essay “Confessions” that I realized we should be friends. At least on paper–I’ll read what he writes. 🙂 He talks about the difficulties of writing, or making art, and also living in community with others. For those of you who’ve tried this, you know it’s tough. If not–it’s harder than it looks. Either way, it’s worth a thoughtful read.

I know I’m a compulsive sharer because just writing this post has made me ridiculously happy. One more for good measure: The hilarious Stephan Pastis writes the comic Pearls Before Swine, and it brings joy to my life.

I’d love to hear what you think!

*Note: I just looked this up. Banshee is perhaps not the correct metaphor. Laugh away, but I always thought it was a crazy monkey. Whoops. Correction: Let your imagination run like a wild monkey.

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17 thoughts on “Imagination: It’s not for the faint of heart.

  1. oh my oh my oh my. MY joy wells up inside in reading this. Yes! I agree!!!!! (The exclamation points are my version of all caps.) 🙂

  2. This blog made me happy! I was saying “yup, uh huh, me too!” to just about everything throughout. I have also long been blessed/cursed with a ‘big’ imagination. And I know what you mean about the lonely feeling of knowing that no one else can really know/feel exactly what is going on inside another. I think it is expressed well in Proverbs 14:10 “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” -A very good verse to obsessively dwell on during those melancholy spirals of plaintive introspection. :]
    And that is also one of the things I love most about reading; the stepping inside another mind, admiring its inner workings, and then being swept off by another’s immagination. Watching other people deeply enjoy something can teach me to love it as well, and I love to try to teach others to see things I love as I do And I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms, but in reading your self-description, I realized that I am most certainly a compulsive sharer too! Things of great beauty, insight, humor, or what my family has taken to calling “neat-ness” simply HAVE to be shared! And speaking of which, I had already read and loved and shared the “ennobling fantasy” article! Great stuff. And I also have had many a laugh from “Pearls before swine”. I hope Stephan Pastis collects and publishes ‘the complete adventures of angry bob’ Ha! I’ve a definite weakness for sharing cartoons!
    Knowing your family, I think you and I have been very blessed in having families with big imaginations, and who also love to share and be shared with. -Which besides having it DNA deep, we no doubt partly ‘caught ‘ from them.
    Oh and lastly, I had to bust out laughing at the banshee thing, and share it with the first person I had handiest! :]

    • 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it; me too. I loved the “Ennobling Fantasy” article/series, and I wanted to read parts of it aloud to my writing teachers. Other students and I often complain that the endings of all the modern fiction we read for class are depressing and pointless. My teachers don’t get it at all–I think they’ve been too long in the literary-academic writing world. For them, if a story ends in anything remotely resembling a Disney-resolution, it’s a poorly written story. (Which, OK, I get that Disney can be a little overboard, but a little happiness/fulfillment/contentment? It’d be nice.) I felt like that article series was a good answer to those kinds of “literary” writers.
      Anyway. 🙂 I had a good time. I haven’t heard of Angry Bob…

  3. Good one! I don’t have as much imagination as the ability to make people think that I think I have a lot…unless they don’t take me seriously….and that makes perfect sense if you don’t think about it past the 3rd layer…why was shee banned?? Oh Ya , “I blog therefore I am” came to me the other day at the breakfast table, so I shared it proudly. daughter #2 said “Eat your cereal”

  4. I totally understand what you’re talking about! I don’t think my parents knew what to do with me when I was a little girl–I was always writing stories and playing pretend and talking to myself. I’m wondering, do you think that a large imagination is innate or that it comes from reading (or a bit of both)?

    • I think some people naturally have weirder imaginations than others–though who can rate imaginations on a scale? But I definitely think that our imaginations are shaped or encouraged by what we put into them.
      You know the feeling, where you’re going along, minding your own business, and suddenly someone explains an idea to you that’s totally new, you’ve never thought that way before. Suddenly your world is larger. You can feel it almost physically widening.
      I think THAT is something that can’t happen inside your own mind; it has to be people thinking together and passing it on.
      It’s a great feeling. I love it when this happens, though the jaded part of me wants to say that it gets less and less as I get older. (Because, clearly, I am so old and wise that soon I’ll know everything and nothing will surprise me anymore… I certainly hope not!)
      What’s your opinion? Are some people just better at imagining?

      Also, every time I see your profile picture thing out of the corner of my eye, I think it’s Darth Vader. : D

  5. Thank you for sharing! I had to laugh at the comics; they were both amazing, and I could relate to them. Sharing myself is something that really excites me (once I get past the idea that it’s awkward or vain). I definitely have that kind of imagination, or at least a rather unique one, and it’s fun to think that I could help other people see the same things. I honestly don’t have time to read all of the links you shared, but I shall definitely be back when I have a spare moment, and I shared this post on Facebook. Sharing the sharing… is that cheesy or brilliant? 😀
    Here is a thought: many people don’t think they have a very good imagination, but everyone has a different view of the world. Are only the “imaginative” views worth seeing, or should everyone appreciate and be willing to share the way they see things? What makes one more special than another?

    • All I know is, I’m imaginative, and if people disagree with me, they’re wrong.

      Ha. Just wanted to throw that out there, so we’re all on the same page. 🙂
      Seriously, though, I think everyone has something valuable to give. I won’t start on a rant about standardized testing and the use of the word “smart” in school (maybe some other time), but I think we do this thing in schools where we tell kids to be a certain way, and if they’re not, then they stop trying at all because they didn’t “fit”. So I think everyone has an imagination, and certainly some people get weirder than others (that’s where we get the spectrum of schizophrenia, if I understand it right). But everyone has SOMETHING creative to contribute, and I think they just get used to being told they’re not “doing it right” and then we’re poorer for it. Hmm. Still thinking on this. What’s your opinion?

  6. Ooh I love sharing, too, so I loved to read how much you love sharing!
    When I read that you enjoy reading, “because I can see what other people are thinking,” I about cheered you on from my dorm room. That’s exactly why I have always loved to read, because it is so darn interesting to get into another person’s head like that.

    Also, the comic at the end of your post is a riot. Saved. Thank you! 🙂

    • 😀 Gotta love Pearls Before Swine. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day and avoiding homework, I go online and read like two hundred of them. And then I feel better.
      I think more of us are sharers that it seems–it’s contagious or something. I think some of my major points of view in life have been formed through reading. Scary and cool at the same time.
      Thanks for reading!

  7. The first image of the last cartoon is hilarious!! The whole thing is funny, but that one took me by surprise. I’m totally hooked on google, I google everything. I even stopped using a range of beautiful cookbooks because it’s so much easier to just type in a few ingredients and get suggestions. What a revolution! Once or twice I looked at bing and felt myself shrink back with fear. 🙂 Not going there again. I have wild imagination, but don’t ever want to live without the google!

  8. Hey there, my name’s Rosario and I sometimes blog about this subject too. I actually do have some questions for you if you do not mind. Could it just be me or does it seem as if some of the replies seem like they are coming out of brain dead folks? 😛 Also, if you’re on additional social network sites such as web
    2.0 site list, I’d like to stay in touch. Would you post a list of all of your shared sites like your Twitter, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    • Hey there Rosario.
      I think it’s just you. They definitely seemed pretty engaged and intelligent to me.
      Right now I’m sticking with just the blog (and keeping it rather poorly at that). I’d rather not create new opportunities to disappoint people with my lack of online activity.

  9. Wow…if that last comment does seem like an attempt to get your shared sites, I don’t know what does. NO ONE (note the all caps) responding here is “coming a brain dead folks”.

    I just reread this whole post and I again smile, am encouraged personally, am encouraged to read YOUR thoughts, and I feel expanded (if that makes sense). You go girl! 🙂

    • It would probably be a more effective comment if I actually had shared sites. See above response RE: disappointment. It’s such a sad thing.

      Glad you enjoyed it for a second time. 🙂

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