And that's the wonder of the gift of imagination that God has given us. As readers we use our imaginations to visualize the stories that we read, in so doing we bring our life experiences into play. For example, if an author mentions a field of yellow flowers, I may visualize the dazzling yellow of a crop of canola, another reader might see a field of sunflowers, while yet another sees a cheerful carpet of daffodils swaying in the breeze- the possibilities are endless. Each reader will experience the book in his/her unique way, and often in ways entirely different to the author's intention and ideas. Our life experiences will affect the way we see the settings, the characters and even the plot.
And writers would not be able to write their novels if it were not for their imagination. We have to imagine our characters' emotions, goals, motives, hurts, lies, appearance, speech. . . We have to use our imaginations to ask and answer "What if?" questions to find out what happens in our books. What if my heroine runs away from home? What if she is missing for two years and then returns with no idea of who she is? What if her experiences have made her into a liar and thief? We have to use our imaginations to adapt and flesh out real life settings, or create a totally new setting.
There are some wonderful quotes which give us some idea of what we can accomplish if we use our imaginations. Here are a few:
- Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. Albert Einstein
- Imagination is the true magic carpet. Norman Vincent Peale
- You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. Mark Twain
- Imagination is the highest kite that can fly. Lauren Bacall
- There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. G K Chesterton
|What Can You See in these Clouds?|
- but, I nearly forgot. you must close your eyes. otherwise. . . you won't see anything. Alice
- I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo
|Sculptor Nick Speakman Set a Squirrel and an Owl Free|
My favorite anecdote illustrating the power of imagination comes from Emma, a little girl in my pre-school class several years ago. The class said a prayer of thanks for their lunch and were about to start eating when Emma piped up,
"Teacher Ruth, Kyle had his eyes open when we said grace."
"Emma, if you saw his eyes open, then your eyes were also open."
" Oh no, Teacher Ruth. I used my imagination."
Before ending this post, I googled "Behind the Green Door". I discovered that it was written in 1940 by Mildred Wirt, who wrote several of the Nancy Drew books as a ghost writer under the name of Carolyn Keene. Guess what I'm downloading this afternoon! At long last I'll find out what's behind the green door.