Putting My Imagination to Work

In one of my posts back in 2009 I made a comment about imagination…

“Imagination is a fascinating phenomenon. With it the writer’s mind creates people who don’t exist, places that have never been, events that didn’t happen, and somehow combines them to create a world that readers accept as real.”

Such imagination can be found in more than fiction.

During Spring Break I accompanied my DIL and granddaughter to a local nursery. Their goal was to find a few plants and accessories to make a Fairy Garden.

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No, this isn’t her garden; it’s mine!

This is where I admit to a love of little woodland hideaways and secret places. Stories like The Secret Garden and Alice in Wonderland that feature wild, abandoned gardens or hidden worlds accessed via a rabbit hole still fascinate me as an adult.

I’ve coveted every fairy garden I’ve ever seen, and yet never taken the initiative to create one for myself. I’m not sure what prompted me, but last week, after acquiring a few leftover plants from my granddaughter’s, I set out to make one, too.

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The one resident fairy is probably lonely as she basks in the shade of her miniature gypsy-style wagon, but the garden’s not finished yet. And once it is, I have another project along similar lines, although that one may require some assistance from my hubby. There are a couple stumps in our woodsy acreage, and ever since seeing the video about “The Gnomist”, I’ve been wanting to add a little door or two … access to a tiny new Gnome’s ghome in my woodland garden. 🙂

It’s all just my goofy imagination at work, but at my age I figure people will forgive my lapse into early senility. After all, we never really outgrow the need to indulge in a bit of whimsy, do we?

If you’ve never seen “The Gnomist” you might enjoy taking a few minutes to view it. The original disappeared from YouTube a while ago, but it’s back with foreign subtitles. The story behind it is very special. (A Kleenex or two would be wise. Be forewarned.) 

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Are you tempted to add a little whimsy to your life now, too?

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Limitless Imagination

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.

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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.

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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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Imagination at Work II

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I’ve chosen a post to share from my 2009 archives today. I hope you aren’t minding all the “replays”. 

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“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

[Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Imagination is a fascinating phenomenon. With it the writer’s mind creates people who don’t exist, places that have never been, events that didn’t happen, and somehow combines them to create a world that readers accept as real.

Indulging in mental wool gathering is a necessary prelude to writing. Staring at people in public places, talking to ones’ self, wandering in apparent aimlessness – these are often signs of the creative process in action. Of course they can also be signs of a rude schizophrenic who is genuinely lost.

Should you encounter me displaying an unusually vague state of mind please inquire if I’m plotting my next novel before signing me up for an appointment with a psychiatrist.

Do you indulge in public daydreaming? Has it ever caused you embarrassment?

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Curiosity and Creativity

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Curiosity has both a positive and negative connotation.  Seen as inquisitiveness it is interest, a desire to know something, to gain knowledge – admirable qualities. Taken more as snooping, however, it’s showing nosiness and a tendency to pry – an intrusiveness most of us don’t welcome.

Our visitors last night displayed a little of both aspects. Two raccoons appeared at the darkened window beside my chair, peering in, perhaps hoping for a handout, although I don’t know why. We never feed them; we don’t want them to become dependent or aggressive.

For a time our six-year-old granddaughter sat at the patio door almost nose to nose with them, enthralled, but securely separated by the glass. I don’t know who was more curious about the other.

The encounter reminded me of my first introduction to a new story idea. A visual image of someone coaxes me to investigate who it is, what is being done and why, when, and where. Curiosity draws me into a fictional world that begs for exploration, a story waiting to be discovered – a world on the other side of the glass.

Of necessity a writer is a curious person, but the desire to know shouldn’t be limited to a make believe world. To write well we need to be engrossed in life. Reality provides constant stimulation for an imaginative mind.

How curious are you? What fuels your creativity?

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Imagination at Work

“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

[Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Imagination is a fascinating phenomenon. With it the writer’s mind creates people who don’t exist, places that have never been, events that didn’t happen, and somehow combines them to create a world that readers accept as real.

 

Indulging in mental wool gathering is a necessary prelude to writing. Staring at people in public places, talking to ones’ self, wandering in apparent aimlessness – these are often signs of the creative process in action. Of course they can also be signs of a rude schizophrenic person who is genuinely lost.

 

Should you encounter me displaying an unusually vague state of mind please inquire if I’m plotting my next novel before making a psychiatrist’s appointment for me.