Focused on homework, my visiting granddaughter was unaware that her imaginative head gear was beguiling. The oversized maple leaf was one of her ‘finds’ during an earlier walk with her sister and Grampa.
She brought home other leaves, wrapped around the stems of wildflowers to create formal little nosegays, but this one she plunked on her head and wore unselfconsciously through the homework session that followed the walk. It was the only prop she needed to be a studious pixie princess.
Where does imagination come from? A Popular Science article explains it this way:
“Cognitive scientists hypothesize that our ability to imagine, to come up with mental images and creative new ideas, is the result of something called a “mental workplace,” a neural network that likely coordinates activity across multiple regions of the brain.”
Personally, I’m convinced the ‘mental workplace’ can be stimulated to even greater productivity by exposure to various forms of art, such as the written word, colours, sounds, shapes and textures.
Leo Tolstoy believed, “every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced, or is producing, the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently, receive the same artistic impression…
“The feelings with which the artist infects others may be most various — very strong or very weak, very important or very insignificant, very bad or very good: feelings of love for one’s own country, self-devotion and submission to fate or to God expressed in a drama, raptures of lovers described in a novel, feelings of voluptuousness expressed in a picture, courage expressed in a triumphal march, merriment evoked by a dance, humor evoked by a funny story, the feeling of quietness transmitted by an evening landscape or by a lullaby, or the feeling of admiration evoked by a beautiful arabesque — it is all art.“
I’m not sure I fully understand how art and imagination are linked, but I believe that most children who from infancy are exposed to music and books, and who are motivated by parental example and encouragement to explore artistic realms beyond their experience, are more likely to be successful in self-expression and academic achievement.
Julia Cameron understood the value of stimulating imagination by going on ‘artist’s dates’, taking time to refuel, and rediscover creativity. Our ‘mental workplace’ needs an environment that is conducive to empowering its potential, and unleashing its limitless capacity. If we want our stories to ‘infect others’, we must first experience the necessary emotions and images, and then be able to convey them as textual art on the page. We must constantly nourish our imaginations.
My granddaughters don’t seem to have a problem with that, but it’s an endless challenge for me!
Do you view your writing as art? How do you enrich it to be its imaginative best?
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