I’m currently reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time. It’s on my list of ‘Books I Should’ve Read By Now’ (this is a very long list, by the way), which I’m slowly getting through.
Reading this book has had me reflecting (as you must) on the power and value of imagination. It occurred to me about halfway through the book that if I simply had to write down its main plot points, they wouldn’t make much of a story; the bare facts of what happens to each of the characters don’t really make it a compelling read. The colour and richness of the book is getting to immerse yourself in Anne’s fantastic imagination (and L.M. Montgomery’s in turn).
I think this applies to life too. The bullet points of what happens to me in my lifetime will just about fill up an obituary one day – taken alone, they don’t make much of a compelling story. Imagination – what we do with the facts (and what we create out of thin air), is what makes us human, and adds meaning and richness to life.
Facts are the outlines on the colouring pages. Imagination is the crayons.
Anne has got me remembering what my imagination was like as a child. I used to get called ‘creative’ a lot, and while I’m not sure that my imagination was on par with Anne’s, I do recall having the ability to create vivid people and situations and adventures in my head. I’m not so sure that ability survived highschool (much less college), though, and I find myself wistfully remembering my childhood creativity.
Instead of staying wistful, however, and pressing on into adulthood with a stiff upper lip, having mourned the loss of a vivid childhood imagination, I am choosing to think of creativity as a muscle that must be worked. It isn’t a magical ability endowed upon children that takes flight at the age of 14. Spurred by a fresh picture of just how powerful and valuable imagination is, I am freshly committing to working that muscle regularly. And what better assignment, really? Simply be imaginative.