Many of us spend very little time cultivating our imagination. The early
twenty-first century was expected to give us more leisure time as automated
devices freed us up from household chores. But instead the pace of life has
robbed us of quiet times to dream and create. Add to this the fact that we have
so much information and entertainment available to us and one soon sees why most
of us are quite content to absorb someone else’s imagination as we settle in
for a night of television, movies, or video games. Most are content to listen
to music rather than compose; read books rather than write; view movies rather
than produce; and critique art rather than create.

Perhaps you are one who has thought about using your imagination and
becoming more creative. Can we cultivate an imagination? The good news is that
we can. Think of imagination as an ability to play. When I was young I had no
problem imagining that my bicycle was a space-ship on which I cruised through
the solar system. I could use it to visit interesting planets and lost
civilizations. When I was bored with another afternoon on the farm I could
readily invent something that was far more interesting than dirt roads and fields
of grain. My mind could transform these into other places, other times, and
other creatures. Trees became jungles, barn-cats became fierce carnivorous
beasts, and a granary roof the look-out for a castle. How could I be bored when
I was capable of seeing all of these things in a single day?

Dorothy L. Sayers, in an interview, once explained how, at a certain
point, she was discontented with her life and so she created a character in one
of her novels that had all of the things she wished for. 

Lord Peter’s large income… I deliberately
gave him… After all it cost me nothing and at the time I was particularly
hard up and it gave me pleasure to spend his fortune for him. When I was
dissatisfied with my single unfurnished room I took a luxurious flat for him in
Piccadilly. When my cheap rug got a hole in it, I ordered him an Aubusson
carpet. When I had no money to pay my bus fare I presented him with a Daimler
double-six, upholstered in a style of sober magnificence, and when I felt dull
I let him drive it. I can heartily recommend this inexpensive way of furnishing
to all who are discontented with their incomes. It relieves the mind and does
no harm to anybody.

What an amazing way to explain her process. I think I would have
enjoyed spending an afternoon learning from Sayers. That too is another way to
spark imagination: spend time with those who are creative. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien,
Owen Barfield, and other writers were known to spend time together at a public
house known as “The Eagle and Child” in Oxford. The group was known
as “The Inklings” and they read each other’s works and inspired each
other’s imaginations. If you want to write books it certainly can’t hurt to
hang out with those who already write. Spending time with authors and song
writers is a great way to stimulate your own creative gifts. Perhaps
imagination and creativity are not expressed in every person. That is likely
what makes them such precious gifts. Yet, I am convinced that more of us are
capable of imagination than the ones who actually go on to express their
creativity. What projects lie dormant in your heart? What might come of dusting
off your imagination?

[1] Barbara Reynolds, Dorothy L. Sayers:
Her Life and Soul
, p. 230.

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