The truth is, I don’t have much of an imagination.
I hate admitting this, because by default, I’m really just stating what many of you already know: For all practical purposes, I am more boring than you are.
But, truly, for as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred ideas and contexts that are rooted in the kinds of things I can touch, see, feel and know. Even as a child, I remember wanting to feel certain that I was participating in games and pretend scenarios that were tethered to the here and now. I stuck to the plausible and practical. Barbie’s car wasn’t flying through the sky on my watch. Because, you know, GRAVITY. Today, this lack of imagination is probably most evident in my disdain for Science Fiction trilogies (pentalogies?) and my struggle to write any kind of meaningful story that isn’t at least semi- autobiographical. It can't be denied. My imagination has its limits.
But, here’s the complicating factor: creativity.
Because, you see, deep down inside of me, it’s there. It eats away at me, frustrates me, excites me, and rears up in the most unimaginative of times. And, it’s got me thinking. How do I reconcile the role of meaningful creativity in a brain and world that is often taken up by the plausible and practical? How do I create if I feel as though my imagination is waning? Because for such a self-professed imagination-slacker, I’ve always found solace in creating. Usually, I create by writing. Sometimes, I create by taking a photograph. Other times, I cook a lovely meal or slap some discounted tempera paint on reclaimed plywood and call it a day. Regardless, the need is there. And if I don’t carve out the space in my life for creativity to emerge, I feel crankier and less-than in a very tangible way.
Ask my friends and my family and my boyfriend. They know.
So, here's a preposterously boring theory: perhaps, for a lucky few, vivid imagination is what drives the creativity. Imagination is the thing and creativity is the vessel. They make and say and papier-mâché beautiful things in order to share with the world what only their imagination knows. They must create, because if they don’t, they will explode with the burden of keeping such world-bending secrets.
But, for others (i.e. me) maybe creativity is the thing. Maybe it’s the miraculous action that connects the mundane to the extraordinary. Perhaps by getting up every morning and choosing to not only see the tangible beauty, but contribute to it, I am challenging the limits of my imagination and stretching it wider and wider, inch by inch. I don't know about you, but life has shown me that if I can take the feeling that stoops in my belly when I see the elderly man at the grocery store, or hear a little girl giggling, or watch a movie that moves me to tears- if I can just wrangle that feeling and create something to let loose on the world, well, then I can believe in just about anything. Even flying Barbie cars.
(Or maybe not. It's just a boring theory.)
Whatever the conclusion, I'm committed to creating. And challenging my imagination. And creating some more.
And just in case you are wondering, I'm also committed to continuing to avoid the attendance of any future Lord of the Rings watch parties.