Monday, April 11, 2011

Imagination - the abcedaria of a writer

Imagination - this seems such an obvious world for those of us who create things. The world of imagination beckons and we lured by its richness, its delight, its frightening uncertainty, follow. What is imagination? Let's go to the dictionary to find out. I'm opening a real book today, not an unline one. It is The American Heritage, one of my favourites and it says:

i-mag-i-na-tion - n. 1 a. The power of the mind to form a mental image or concept of something that is not real or present.
b. Such power of the mind used creatively.
2. The ability to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind; resourcefulness.
3. Archaic. a. An unrealistic idea or notion; fancy. b. A plan or scheme.
4. A traditional or widely held belief or opinion.

I'm always more surprised at the meanings of commonly used words in dictionaries. Here is what I am surprised at here - in the first meaning, the phrase 'or present'. I think works of the imagination are often held up to be completely new and fresh but they can be simply that which is not present. Invocations, spells, desires, fears - all imaginary.
In my life as a therapist, this is called 'discounting'. Discounting the current reality is a problem - but not when you mean to. Not when you need to bring in another non-current reality - the reality of 'what if?'. I once saw a one-man show that was entirely built on the word 'possibility' and included vast worlds - past, future and never. I loved it AND all I remember is the man, who's name eludes me, saying the words 'imagination' and 'possibility'. What the heck was it about? Don't know. Can't even seem to find out. Yes, I've tried. But it rests in my imagination as a true world.
Last night I dreamt that my fella and I went to Bucharest. Why? It was pretty nice too- the train ran so close to the houses that you could see clearly into everyone's life. The place where we stayed, someone's swell and weird apartment, had a shrine to bluey green objects including a massive collection of Blue Mountain Pottery - horrible stuff from the 70's that was a sure thing to find amongst your gifts if you married then. In Canada. Why it would be in Bucharest is beyond me. And further more, I don't even know where Bucharest is or why the man and I would go there. The dishwasher was cool though. It was a tall, round cabinet. You placed the dishes in it and the whole thing spun around. Lots of dishes going on in my imagination. What a mixture - train rails running close to windows might be from a Tati movie I just saw, the dishwasher, the Blue Mountain gaack - beats me.
In my now disbanded writing group, we use to exchange words on tiny pieces of paper. Then we would feverishly write for about twenty minutes. Then we'd share. An hour after gathering, eating, gossiping and doing this activity we would have whole new worlds. Imagination is power, it is hope, it is, sometimes, all we have between being ok and running down a street screaming.
What's your relationship to imagination?

22 comments:

Siv Maria said...

Imagination is a nation I visit frequently :) Lovely post, great word.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think imagination is what I enjoy most about writing. Great escape, fun, like being a child--pretending.

Bucharest! Cool dream. :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Loved your version of imagination.
You and I are on the same wave length today, I did a poem called Imagine,

Yvonne.

Liza said...

Great post, especially the dream. Imagination feeds the soul, invites optimisim and issues challenges. It's all good.

Rae said...

I think imagination is what makes us unique individuals, It's part of our souls.

Rae said...

I think imagination is what makes us unique individuals, It's part of our souls.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, I LOVE the sound of a trip to Bucharest! (Romania, silly) and I sort of like that Blue Mountain stuff... I can be twisted that way, though...

I am much better at the imagination that is just the 'not there' than creating stuff from scratch--I think I can reconfigure stuff in interesting ways, but I could never be a World Builder...

Lucy Adams said...

My relationship with imagination: we're bed partners.

Lucy

Glynis Jolly said...

For me it depends on if it's a day-dream or a dream while I sleep. My imagination while awake usually produces a world better than the one I live in. Dreams while I sleep have a tendency to produce worlds that are different but are still made up of a combination of good and bad like the one I live it. I wish I could remember those dreams more vividly because they'd make good stories.

K.C. Woolf said...

Ah, one of my favourite words, ideas, concepts, ...

My relationship with imagination? I owe it my life. Several of my lives, even.

fredamans said...

I've been enjoying all the creative use of imagination in the a to z blogging posts I visit!

http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/2011/04/i-is-for-italyitalian.html

Rosalind Adam said...

My imagination is both good to me and bad. It helps me write but it can also keep me awake at night.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

"Not present" - interesting definition. And maybe you hope to visit Bucharest someday?

Ann said...

My "Imagination" has made me laugh and made me cry. It has made me shake in terror and glee. It is where I go to escape. When I choose to be, "Not Present."

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

Wonderful post about imagination. For me, it's escapism.

TheyCallMeVarmit said...

Wonderful post about imagination. For me, it's escapism.

Julie said...

Great post! I especially enjoyed reading about your dream. It's so interesting how we can have such vivid dreams about places we've never been to, the imagination is so powerful.

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Creative Blog Award.
Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
~Deirdra

nutschell said...

imagination is everything when you're a fantasy writer. :)
great to meet you through the a-z! looking forward to your next post.
nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

welcome to my world of poetry said...

They say Great Minds Think Alike.

I wonder if we have the same K?
Yvonne.

Matthew Vanacore said...

Imagination is such a fascinating portal of, what I deem, actionable thoughts. The deep recesses of our mind allow us to imagine things that our conventional, physical beings can't experience (of course, there are some exceptions).

I'm glad you devoted your post to this facet of thinking. Your writing was very engaging, and your analysis was sound.

And great blog! I'm following.

Lynda R Young said...

imagination got me into the creative pursuits--writing, drawing, painting. Life would be boring without imagination.