The full quote is actually: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” George Bernard Shaw.
Obviously, that’s what we do around here. We imagine worlds, characters, plots. We create books. Books are themselves, entire new realities to get lost in.
Yada, yada, yada. Obviously we’re a bunch of creative badasses. That’s not what I care about.
What is the beginning of imagination? That’s what I want to know.
Are you born with it? Obviously, some people are more creative than others, but does that mean their more imaginative? I mean, I’ve met some people who probably couldn’t imagine their way out of a box, but is that a factor of intelligence or did their parents not read them enough stories at bedtime?
I think about this a lot, since I’m now responsible for another human being (honestly, who thought that was a good idea?) My daughter is only 7 months old, and we joke that she hates books, because whenever we try to read to her she starts screaming. This is due in large part to the fact that we often time her bedtime wrong and she’s overtired when we’re trying to read her a story. It’s a family joke, but it worries me a little bit.
Aren’t I, as her mother, supposed to be trying to instill in my daughter the same love of reading that I have? Yeah, yeah, I know, she’s 7 months old. I’m not really worried about her right this instant. But how do I go about encouraging her imagination when she’s older? Do I sit her down in a blank room and leave her be? With no toys to play with, will she play in her mind?
I suppose part of the problem is that I can’t remember not imagining my own stories. In the same way that I can’t remember learning to swim or my first airplane flight, my imagination has always been there, so I never questioned it. Until now.
It seems to me, in my limited point of view, that children come naturally with imagination. They’re always inventing games and stories. It’s only as we get older that that fades away in some and not in others. So why do some of us hang on to it longer than others?
I guess I have time, but if you have any ideas on how to encourage imagination in a child as they grow into an adult, I’d love to hear it. Admittedly, she doesn’t have to wind up being creative, I’ll clearly like her even if she turns out to be the straightest laced kid alive. Perhaps that’s for the best. After all, no parent wants to think of their child hearing voices, but that’s what we writers seem to do, at least a little bit.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the characters in my head want to tell me something…
Skye became the black sheep of her university’s literature department when she announced that what she really wanted to do for her senior thesis, instead of writing a thought-provoking essay on the deeper meanings of James Joyce, was to write a romance novel. They gave in, however, and the rest is history. As a result, Skye learned more than she ever thought possible about the inner workings of the publishing industry and off and on, given her schedule, pursued publication of both her senior thesis and other novels she’s written along the way.
Skye has many names and almost as many personalities to go with them. As Melinda Skye, she writes Romantic Suspense, Urban Fantasy, and Young Adult. As Skye Forbes, she may (or may not) have saved the world a few times over. In her real life, under another different name, Skye is a lawyer. And yes, if you ask nicely, she might help keep you out of jail. Or put you in it. It depends on her mood.
Skye lives in California, with her husband, brand new daughter, and menagerie of animals.