Dec 28, 2011


When I was a kid, I had a pretty vivid imagination.  I would see animals in the clouds and patterns and pictures in the melting snow.  I would imagine myself having success in whatever I was chasing after (volleyball, piano, grades) and picture the way it would look when I was honored as the best at whatever. 

Then, I started getting made fun of for having my imagination.  I used to walk home from school, with the latest song I was learning on the piano racing through my mind, my fingers playing the piece as I walked.  But I got mocked.  I would have pretend conversations with the boy I had a crush on, but I have a habit of talking out loud and someone would hear me and make fun of me. 

By the time I hit high school, I was convinced I was not a creative person.  I didn't want to write stories but research papers.  Even though I got in-front-of-the-class praise for my stories many times, I wanted the praise for the research and analytical papers.  I wanted to be smart, and I had been convinced that being smart could not allow creativity. 

This was my philosophy through college too.  I started pre-med, took a tour of college departments as part of the self-described major of the month program, and finally got the praise I wanted for my ability to research and write analytically. 

Skip ahead about 10 years, three kids and a teaching certification later and I found myself teaching a creative writing class and scared out of my freakin' mind.  I didn't know how to be creative anymore - how was I going to teach it. 

So I started taking lessons in creativity - from my kids.  I would start a story with them and they would allow crazy, irrational, completely imaginative things to take control of the story - enter remote control room cleaning alligators, birds whose bodies are hour-glasses, rainbows that show up and take a person on a slide ride to where they want to go.  I gave myself permission to play, and over the next couple years, I found my creativity again.  I found my imagination.  And I have been doing whatever I could to keep it strong since then.

Did you ever lose your imagination?  How do you keep it, and your creativity, strong and present?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's terrible! Kids can be so cruel.
My imagination waned some when the responsibilities of adulthood overwhelmed me. I kept it alive though and attacked again full force ten years ago. Glad I did!

J. A. Bennett said...

What an inspiring story of triumph over adversity! I was made fun of for constantly being in 'la-la land' as well. But not to an extreme. Thank goodness for my children who have helped me learn and grow!

Peggy Eddleman said...

I still wish I had the kind of imagination that my kids have! But I kept the creativity alive by creating things with my hands. I used to create so many things out of so many types of things! Then I discovered writing, and that took over EVERYTHING.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I wish I had that uncensored imagination kids have! I am a very in-the-box thinker, which makes it hard to come up with something new!

Alison Miller said...

My kids keep me creative - my own children and the teenagers I teach. Love it. Love them.

Miranda Hardy said...

I think my creativity is growing in a different direction then when I was younger. I used to play pretend all the time, but then I was afraid of what people would think. Darn society. So, my dreams took over and my imagination flew in so many different directions.

Now, I write everything down that pops into my head. I love how it develops.

Michelle Dennis Evans said...

I think I did lose it for a while when I thought I had to improve myself.
I've had a very healthy imagination for a long time ... kids help too I think.