Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Smack Dab in the Imagination: Intimations of Imagination by Dia Calhoun

I’m so pleased to begin this new series of blog posts called Smack Dab in the Imagination. Over the next year, I will explore imagination from different angles with different tools. I hope this will not only help writers and artists, but also anyone interested in imagination.

During author visits, I’m often asked how to increase our imaginative ability. One way is to learn to pay attention to moments when you’re surprised, startled, or captured by something. Perhaps an image, event or idea. A moment of beauty or repulsion. Such moments mean something is resonating in you. These are “intimations of imagination.” Intimation is the act of making something known. These moments are seeds of imaginative potential and carry tremendous energy.

Often we are too busy or distracted to attend them. A creative person needs to tune herself to catch these energies. Hence the pencil stub and bit of paper always in the pocket.

Here’s an example. During an acupuncture session, a vivid image flashed in my mind. A poem wanting to be. But, being a human porcupine, I couldn’t grab a pencil. Afterward, I considered jotting it down, but rush hour traffic was increasing by the minute. So I didn’t. That night, I was distracted by life’s unending necessaries. When I at last opened my notebook the next morning, the poem was gone. Oh, I still had the image, but it was as bland as egg whites. All the energy it carried had fled.

A week later, shortly after I went to bed, an image and a phrase came. So did the energy. But I was already late to bed. However, recalling the lost poem, I thought, this is my job as a creative person. And that job comes with irregular hours and starting bells that ring at odd times. So I stumbled into the kitchen and opened my notebook. A poem flurried onto the page. With work, that poem may be a good one. It contains a possible picture book story, too.

Joseph Campbell wrote, “the goal is to live with godlike composure on the divine rush of energy.” Writing is the same. If you show up for the intimations of your imagination, that rush of energy will do most of the work for you.

Join me here on the 23rd of each month for more explorations of imagination.

2 comments:

  1. I love those serendipitous moments when inspiration seems to appear from nowhere. Thanks for the reminder to "be present" when it happens. Never know what might result.

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  2. You know, that's true--sometimes, inspiration is a lightning bolt, but sometimes, it makes a much softer impact.

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