Friday, September 21, 2012

Finding your lost imagination

 “Use it or lose it” is an expression we’re all familiar with. We don’t always associate it with imagination, but it’s certainly true. We’re born with curiosity and imagination, but somewhere between adolescence and adulthood, we lose it.

Unless we allow ourselves to dream and fantasize throughout our lives, we risk becoming stodgy and stale; heaven forbid! A plunge into the realms of literature is a sure cure.

One of my favorite reads is the “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Don’t let the 1943 copyright put you off. This classic still rings as true today as it did when it was written.

“Like a spoon full of sugar,” the pages melt on your tongue exuding words that recapture childhood fancy and wisdom. Once again, you become a child. You think like a child. You see like a child. Your observations become acutely aware of the foibles that being a “grown up” entails.

The simple drawings are lessons in and of themselves: “I showed the grown-ups my masterpiece," the little prince said, "and I asked them if my drawing scared them.” They answered, “Why be scared of a hat?”

“My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. Then I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so the grown-ups could understand. They always need explanations….they advised me to put away my drawings and apply myself to geography, history, arithmetic, and grammar. That is why I abandoned, at the age if six, a magnificent career as an artist.”

My favorite part of the whole story is when the little prince meets a fox. He has never seen a fox before. “Come play with me,” the little prince proposed. “I’m feeling so sad.”

“I can’t play with you,” the fox said. “I’m not tamed.”

“What does tamed mean?”

“It’s something that’s been too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means, ‘to create ties’…”

“‘To create ties?’”

“That’s right,” the fox said. “For me you’re only a little boy just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of me, either. For you I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me. I’ll be the only fox in the world for you…”

By the time you finish reading this book, you're a child again on the brink of discovery. You become wise beyond your years. You grasp the meaning of relationships and the importance of simple things. You see things through the eyes of a child and your imagination is set free!

The next time you get stuck on empty and your creative juices are sluggish and slow, pick up a favorite book or a classic and restart your engines. For me it’s like a mini-vacation that inspires and refreshes. My perspective is altered; my enthusiasm is fired up, and I’m ready to meet the world head on.

Featured Artist
Lyn Olsen is a self-taught artist whose style is impressionistic and whose focus is on marine life, nature, and contemporary paintings. A link is posted below with a painting called “Silver Sailing.”