Imagination Totems: Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun

Today, my imagination failed me. Wait. That’s wrong. Today I failed my imagination.

The First Way I Failed My Imagination

Because the main freeway was blocked, I forgot that imagination has sideroads, backroads, and byways. WAZE doesn’t know them. They aren’t on our maps. Imagination has its own maps. They are three-dimensional, which I can sort of grasp, and probably five-dimensional which I never will, short of epiphanic experience. Here's to hoping.

Ok, so all this was progress. I saw the exits to the other roads, but this brings me to:

The Second Way I Failed My Imagination

How was I supposed to get my car around all the other cars blocking my way to the newly beckoning exits to the sideroads? Impossible. I sat and stewed. I forgot that imagination, as the world’s best shapeshifter, has other forms.

So I asked this question: What kind of imagination do I need to get out of this creative traffic jam on the project in front of me? An imagination that’s froglike, crouching on a hot rock and waiting for the world to bring the right moment? A cat-like imagination that stalks the slight movement in the bunchgrass and then pounces. Or do I need an imagination like a four-winged damselfly who sails the wind?

The metaphors could be many things. Today I settled on rain. Rain cleans away detritus, cuts channels, and drips into dry ground. I pictured rain falling on the jammed page of my book. What would the rain wash away? What would remain? What would glitter like the jeweled drops on the red maple leaves outside my window? It worked.

What is your imagination totem for the day, the project, or your creative life?


  1. I love the image of rain washing away what jams your page.

  2. This is a lovely take on the process of imagination. Very interesting!


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