Monday, February 21, 2011

Six impossible ideas before breakfast


B says to me, "I like to imagine 6 impossible,wonderful ideas before breakfast. It's the perfect solution to keeping your imagination in shape."

I'm walking home with my daughter (age 12) and we are talking about how when you grow up, you have more or less tucked your imagination away for good.
Unless of course you've kept it in working condition because otherwise, it'll stiffens up like worn out bones if not exercised.

Compared to her my thoughts are usually frantic. How can I get the 6 times 6 tasks I have to do, done- impossibly- before breakfast?

The way I sometimes feel is like that poor miller's daughter in the old fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin where she is forced to spin a room full of gold out of a bail of straw before the morning- or be executed.

And then I think of J.K. Rowling and her magical, fantastical, story and how she imagined all that and how wonderful it is and how we all love a person with imagination-when they've proved themselves of course (I'm being sarcastic).

"For instance," B continues, as we pass the candy store, " what if the snow was all pink and fluffy? And the sky opened up and showered down orange candy floss.
What if instead of cars we all got around on skateboard like devices that worked like cars? No wait! What if we went back to horse drawn carriages? I'll never let my imagination die."

I believe it.

But there are many ways that our imagination can be exercised. J.K said it best in her Harvard Speech

Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense.Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

She said:
"We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better."

The capacity to put oneself in another's shoes is every bit as valuable, maybe even more crucial in this age of rapid change,  as imagining what is not.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I tried doing this and found it really hard to imagine 6 different things everyday! I keep thinking world peace and more money for myself!

echolage said...

"we are talking about how when you grow up, you have more or less tucked your imagination away for good.
Unless of course you've kept it in working condition because otherwise, it'll stiffens up like worn out bones if not exercised."

Love this way of describing it!

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