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.