Imagination is the Preview of Life’s Coming Attractions

 reading

Do you ever have one of those days where you just cannot think?

You read the same sentence over and over, but it just doesn’t compute. You walk into a room only to forget why you went there. You sit through an entire lecture or conversation only to realize it’s over and you don’t know what happened.

That was me this past week. My brain was zombified mush.

I felt like Dory, the little fish in Finding Nemo who has short-term memory loss:

Marlin: I’m miles from home with a fish who can’t even remember her name.
Dory: Boy, I bet that’s frustrating.

 

For instance, I picked up a book at the library yesterday– How Pleasure Works: the New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom.  However, I could not remember why I’d put the book on hold.

Sometimes I think my brain just needs to reboot every now and then.

Luckily there was something sparkly in the book to get my attention–chapter six.

Imagination.

You gotta love it, whether it’s daydreaming or spending time in worlds created by other people’s imaginations, it can offer our tired minds a chance to start over.

According to the author, “Imagination is Reality Lite — a useful substitute when the real pleasure is inaccessible, too risky, or too much work.

Why not?  In an instant we can get caught up in a romance with a vampire, sing along with a high school glee club or run around virtual worlds shooting aliens.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses of gray matter. . .or something like that.

Books, TV, movies and video games allow us to tag along on the journey.  We experience the story.

 “We enjoy imaginative experiences because at some level we don’t distinguish them from real ones.”

In fact the best ones are the stories that we get so engrossed in that we forget for the moment that they aren’t real.

And the fact that we can cry or laugh at a story, simply because our brains recognizes the emotion?  Well, it shows how powerful those mushy brains can turn out to be.

Imagine what we can accomplish when we simply put our minds on it.

“Imagination is everything.

It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

–Albert Einstein

 

What stories are you imagining for your life?

HOW YOU COMING ON THAT NOVEL YOU’RE WORKING ON, HUH?

The writing process is slow. Couple it with the publishing process and the fact that writing is mostly a solitary living-in-a-shell like activity, and you are looking at a lifestyle that is turtle club worthy.

At least it comes with a great motto:

Slow and steady wins the race.

This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially when you emerge from your shell for food, showers, more work (you mean there’s other stuff to do?) and seeing your family and friends only to hear questions like:

You still working on that novel?

Do you have an end yet? Because I have a really good idea…

When am I going to see it in Barnes and Noble?

What’s for dinner?  (Oh wait, you may or may not get that one, depends on whether or not your kids are old enough to call for pizza.)

When I hear these questions, my mind scrambles for some sort of summary update, sifting through all the work looking for something that is akin to handing them a hardcover copy of my book.

Um, yeah.

You write. You read. You edit. You write some more. You put the story away for a while and start work on another. Then you pick it back up and read. Then you edit, write some more. Then get some people to read and comment and then edit some more. Then write a query letter and edit that, and get some people to read that. Write. Edit. Then send it out to agents and/or some small publishers (because the big ones will not look at it without the agent). Wait and wait. Work on the next story . . .

I am going to stop here because if you are a writer you know all this, and if you’re not, then you are probably wondering why anyone would actually comply with such a process.

It sounds crazy, right?

It’s a slow process. Turtle-y slow.

So I remind myself to take a chill pill when I get the questions, because yes I’m still working on that novel (actually two, both with endings, but you never know I might use your good idea someday). 

(Oh and the dinner question?  Only requires microwave skills, because the pizza is in the freezer.)

And as for Barnes and Noble (or Amazon)?

I don’t know–yet (this is the key word here, print it, cut it out and attach it to something).

Because if you love it, you do it and when the questions come, you can think about Stewie.

Yes, I give you Stewie. Because sometimes I just need to relax about the whole process and squeak out a laugh instead of taking myself too seriously. Besides, as Stewie says, we all deserve some time off (even if we sometimes let our kids eat pizza from the freezer).

Speaking of pizza, if you’re headed to the freezer can you get me some? It’s the gluten free one, with the tapioca cheese . . .