…about the future of imagination

27 December 2011

Maybe I’m just old, but I remember when a certain Danish toy company’s prime offering was a generic box of interconnecting blocks. I would take those blocks and make whatever my imagination could assemble. Sure, some of the things I made bore only a vague resemblance to what I declared them to be. To me though, that was no different from the pictures I gave my grandmother to put on her fridge. I knew the members of my family weren’t stick people. They were representations, not portraits.
4-year-old boy painting Revell model

The same was true of my plastic-block racing cars and airplanes. They were representations, real-world hooks I used to make connections between my dreams and my reality. My imagination was just the free-flowing pipeline that brought dreams and reality together in that wonderful land called Play.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with kits that include specialized pieces to model scenes from movies and television programs. I had those too; only they were plastic models that were made more for display than for play. They taught me some very important life skills, like RTFM*, or “if you don’t open a window first you’ll get a bitch of a headache from the glue and paint fumes.”

My concern is for the future of imagination. Learning how to read and follow instructions is good. Still, someone had to imagine the project being built. Even the “fine manual” had to be imagined before it could be written.

If we’ve only learned how to read and follow, who will dream and invent? “In the Valley of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Is that where were headed, toward shortsighted inventions and half-seen plans? Or are we already there?

__________
*RTFM = “read the fine manual,” or something like that…


…about working from home

26 October 2011

It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Get up, pour a coffee, and plunk down in front of the computer. That’s the morning commute to work. Tough, huh?

Like the teaser for a movie, that’s the good bit. The not-so-good bit comes when you actually try to get something done. For some reason, people assume that working from home means not really working, so you are free to be interrupted for any reason whatsoever.

For some people, this may be okay. For me, not so much. I need time to get into my groove. Once I’m there, I can surprise even myself with how much I can accomplish. But it takes so little for my train of thought to be derailed.  Once it is off the tracks, I’m done for the afternoon.

This used to frustrate me to no end. Why couldn’t I get back with the task at hand, and just pick up where I left off? I got the beginnings of my answer from a podcast that Joanna Penn did with Livia Blackburne. Hopefully I’m not overextending her meaning when I say that creative thinking is something that, unlike logical thinking, can’t be forced. I can’t MAKE myself think creatively, but I can back off and let myself think creatively.

Is that the Muse that writers talk about? It seems plausible to me. Connecting with our Muse may be nothing more than telling our logical minds to shut the hell up. The dreaded Writer’s Block (insert dramatic music here) may simply be that we are trying to force a creative solution, and it just doesn’t work that way.

If anyone knows a quick and easy way to regroup oneself after an interruption, I’d love to hear it. I fear that no such method exists and, that as a writer interrupted, one must coax our Muse gently in order to regain her hand.

In the meantime, I will lock myself away in my spare bedroom/home office, and do my best to not emotionally scar those who derail my train of thought. Wish me luck!

-= C =-


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