Imagination– an act or process of forming a conscious idea or mental image of something never before wholly perceived in reality by the one forming the images (as through a synthesis of remembered elements of previous sensory experiences or ideas as modified by unconscious defense mechanisms); also : the ability or gift of forming such conscious ideas or mental images especially for the purposes of artistic or intellectual creation
Imagination is a powerful thing. It can amaze you, torment you, titillate you, stimulate you, keep you awake at night, get you out of bed in the morning, scare you and even protect you. It’s one of the traits that separates man from beast if you believe science and folklore.
Imagination feeds the stories we tell, whether they’re simple fables to our children or the more complicated ones that morph, we hope, into published material. Our characters live in our imaginations, some more openly than others but they’re all in there. All we have to do is consider “what if” and one or more will pop out with suggestions. Some are outright ridiculous, others too gory or scary or out of the ball park to even think on for more than a moment or two. The major characters will promote themselves with “what if I open the door and see my long-lost (fill in the blank here) holding a gun?” Or “What if I ignore my instincts and (fill in another blank here) anyway?” The secondary characters might counter with “But if he/she does that, then what happens to me?” And so on. I can spend thirty minutes envisioning the characters running around in my brain, each one a salesperson trying to convince me his or her idea is THE ONE. Most of the time, none of them convince me, but there is that sense of possibility. That’s when I start my own “what if?”
The danger is in forgetting the reality that also has to exist in life, fictional or not. We need to use imagination, rein it in a bit at times, let it run full steam at others, but always know that it is only one part of any process.
What do you think? Is there such a thing as too much imagination?