Writing begins in the imagination. Where, though, does the imagination begin?
If you've ever stood before a large aquarium with a group of school kids, you'll know that each child sees something a little different inside the tank. While the teacher talks about the food chain, the shark circling a school of sardines, or the lifecycle of a sponge, the child sees another universe. "Do you think that shark has a mother in here, too?" "I think the sponge knows when fish swim by. I think it likes their company." "If I were in there, I'd hide inside the rock cave and wait for a crab to come by so we could be friends."
Why does the child's imagination reach further beyond this present reality than an adult's? Why does ours so often begin with what is real and move only inches from it? One might say we are bogged down with so much of this reality (bills, family, health, world crises) that we haven't the same capacity to stretch and dream.
So we must shift our awareness, make room for the unreal, the potential of reality. Once we step back into that child's way of seeing, we can tap more easily into our own vastness. Perhaps in order to do this, we must remember what tickled our imagination as that child. What stirred the dust of truth and raised the possibility of the unknown and unreal?
When I need to stir up my uninhibited child's imagination, I spend time where a kid might. The zoo. A swing on a playground. Watching cartoons. I talk to kids. I remember.
Then I sit down and write. Having stirred up my child's imagination, I've infused my own with a way of seeing and believing beyond what is real.
What stirs your imagination?