In 1929, Albert Einstein was asked by a Saturday Evening Post interviewer if he trusted more in imagination or knowledge. Einstein said, “I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Children seem to be born with vivid imaginations and insatiable curiosity, but when they grow to adulthood, they often have to be reminded to “Use your imagination.” Why is that? Over time, we can let our imagination, a beautiful gift of creativity from our Creator-God, get squelched or die of atrophy.
Kris Kringle, in Miracle on 34th Street, asked the child, Susan, if she knew what imagination is. She said, “That’s when you see things that aren’t really there.”
“Well, not exactly. No, to me the imagination is a place all by itself. A very wonderful country. You’ve heard of the British Nation and the French Nation. Well, this is the Imagi Nation. Once you get there you can do almost anything you want.”
My parents encouraged and even celebrated my “over-active” imagination. We moved to the country where there were no girls to play with when I was four years old. No problem. I invented my own friends.
Debbie Whooby and Donna Hook were my constant companions. When we’d go for a ride in the car, my older brother had to scrunch against the door to make room for my two invisible friends. Debbie and Donna helped me make the transition to country life and kindergarten.
Now, as a so-called grown-up, I get to return to my childhood. I have the best job in the world! OK, I don’t get paid for my job–so it might be a stretch call it a “job”–but I do love what I do.
I have discovered how much I enjoy writing fiction. I have the power to create people and towns and whole worlds. A character may be tall with red hair and a contagious laugh one day, and then after I take out my giant eraser, I can turn her into a short brunette bookworm or a medium-height blonde political activist.
I get to create imaginary friends again!
My invisible characters write my stories. They visit me as I go about my day, looking over my shoulder and saying things like, “I would never say that.” They come to me in my sleep and keep me awake with all their racket. When I sit down to type, their stories unfold and take twists that I, as the Author, never saw coming.
I’m about to start the last novel in my young adult series of three, from a specific time and place in history–Romania in the 1980s. Historical fiction is a return to my roots.
My very first novel (finished at age 10), called Revolutionary Anne, was about a girl who lived in Phillie while her father served at Valley Forge. I wrote this masterpiece on the banks of the Choptank River across from my childhood home, the place where my mind was free to soar to any setting in any time period.
Imagination encircles the world. It enables you to do almost anything you want.