Dec 28, 2011

Imagination

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?

7 comments :

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...

Hello.
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.