Monday, 14 April 2014

It's an Imaginary Life

I have never, ever seen a pine needles worth of "It's A Wonderful Life" and I have no desire to. My life is full of a million other things still to come, catching up requires certain requirements before I will do so. But, I do live in a particular society that prevents one from entirely and permanently stashing their head in the sand, thereby inflicting me with horrible pop music and "classic" movie titles like "It's A Wonderful Life."

Though, I will admit I almost want to see this sci-fi movie called "Twelve Monkeys," just because it got referenced in Cabin Pressure when the character's were playing a game of movie title sentences. One example was: "What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Twelve Monkeys." Haven't seen the first one mentioned either, but I go for sci-fi over most things and what sort of sci-fi movie is called "Twelve Monkeys?" I mean, nonsense! Utter nonsense!

The Omphalos. A bellybutton of the world. Nonsense? Creativity.

Then again, I have never seen "Snakes on a Plane" and that is about as weird as titles get, though I did see the Doctor Who knock-off called "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" but again, that was Doctor Who and therefore it filled in the requirement of me knowing something about the genre or show that I would like. And I did. Mostly. It's hard not to like an episode of Doctor Who, well, that is, unless you start thinking too much and you get a headache or start getting irritated with the writer's adoration of epic storylines and cliffhangers. Me, I love a good epic and cliffhangers are so entertaining (I mean, look at BBC's Sherlock after the end of season 2 and all the theories of how he survived the fall. England went insane for the months following and the internet was insane for two years. More insane than usual).

Thing is, Twelve Monkey's is a sci-fi movie. Just that. Plain and simple and sometimes I need more than that to delve into someone else's world. Often I need to just watch it with someone else. That's how I pulled off getting through a few of the Oscar movies this year. Others, I get to gorge on my shallow human side which usually gets squashed into the basement of my Tower Library (mind), and things will be delved into because of a favourite writer like Neil Gaiman's rather contemplative almost lit fiction book "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" or hey look, my favourite actor happens to be in that film. And so on. I don't always adore the product because of those preconcieved conditions that made me pick them up in the first place and I often stumble into things out of boredom or adventurousness and end up down a track I never saw. Then again, 90% of the time the preconcieved conditions ring true and I come out the end with a warm belly of contentment. A bit like good food, pleasant company and mild sunshine. Or, like the first two minutes of a cat sitting on you. 

A lost shoe. Nonsense? Forgotton Childhood. Creativity.

Anyway, all that ramble about preconcieved conditions before trying new things came about because of comment, reply, comment a friend and I had on facebook.

He said: If you could escape this world and live in a world of your own making, what would you do, knowing that you forever forefit the world you do not choose?

I replied with: I don't see why there would be any forefit if you were living in a world of your own making. In a world of your own making it should be filled with your intention which thereby leaves no room for regrets. Seeing as this is the start of a deeper conversation I will leave what I would do for a lengthier area. Though, I will just say; I would, I will and shall always be, a storyteller.

He replied to this with: Some people are incapable of designing an imaginary life. Hence the need to forefit one or the other.

I was incredulous and finished the exchange with: Seriously?! Anyone incapable of designing an imaginary life needs to be put down. Dramatically. Now. Or maybe I should pull out my staff and knock their brains about a bit.  

Okay. So I was a bit dramatic myself, but if you have caught one or two of my posts you'll probably already recognize one part of my default setting sits on dramatic. I'm a writer. It's what we do best. That aside, his reply made me think about how I have met so many people, of all ages who say: I'm not creative. They panic when asked to imagine and say, "What!?" No! I can't! I have no imagination!"

I sigh out a breath and then take in a breath. Then I have one of two replies depending on the person. Either I say, "use your five senses. Imagine the tastes, smells, feeling and visuals of...*insert thing being imagined here*

If that fails, and it does, I'll get the person to find the theme that connects two very opposite things. Try it now. Just for fun. (For those who forgot high school English: a theme is the unifying idea or concept of a product, usually a book, but it works in life).

A spider. The sun. 

A toothpick. A potato.

Earbuds. Elephants. 

How was that? Easy? Tough? Fun? Annoying? Did you come up with more than one theme? Whatever the case, the best thing about creativity, which makes it the best and worst thing on the planet for a person's self-confidence, is that it is highly subjective (read: There. Is. No. Right. Answer). 

That is still a hard thing for me to be okay with. I was frozen in terror a couple weeks ago when I shared some of my sci-fi work with the local library's writer-in-residence; one, because most of the professional writers I've met in real life (read: university) were very snobbish about the place genre fiction did not have in the writing world Hall of Art. Two, because I haven't shared my work with anyone more than that friend who prompted this post and occasionally my mom and a class of bored Grade Nine students.

Yet I keep trekking with it because it is scary and because I am starting to realize it does not matter what people think of my work because all the people in the world will never, ever be happy with your work. I mean, take the Oscars for example, that is The Award for film creatives and yet it is equal parts subjective and bureaucratic. Yay for social images. On a small personal scale I can say I adore Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" but his recent "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" was good, but it was a chore (a short chore, of 200 some pages but a chore) to get through. It was sweet and if you are a storyteller in any form, it feels like home but I gravitate more to books that put me in the flow, the sort of books that I come out of, gulping air and realizing "oops, it's four hours later than I intended." A book a grabbed just because it was a steampunk fantasy called "A Conspiracy of Alchemists" by Liesel Schwarz is my latest flow book. 

Let the buds of your mind bloom.

Anyway, creativity. Imagination. Perhaps I am not the best to be writing about it, or being derisive about those who people "who are incapable of designing an imaginary life" but I honesty do find it hard to believe because you can imagine as much as you can eat. It can be as quantifiable or as nonesensical as you personally desire. Here's another good practice at creativity, especially for those who are iron-willed logical.

How many otters can you imagine? 

A nonsensical person like me would instantly reply with the dramatic word, "a million!"

But can you really imagine a million? Logically? No. Unless...

Put all those otters somewhere. Try, say, an aeroplane. Let's also take a smaller number, say, a hundred otters. 

Imagine one hundred otters in a 16 seat aeroplane. 

Now can you do it? Plot it logically. Stick the otters on seats, under seats, in overhead compartments, in the flight deck, the galley etc. 

So my caveat to those who say that cannot, or people who say certain individuals are incapable, I say no one is incapable. Sometimes all it takes is a little logic and even a nonsensical person like myself who can happily suspend a lot of logical belief in the face of many things (because I'll just fill the holes in myself with my own creative juices), might need some sense.  

So now you are creative! Awesome! Or at least its cooking. Takes time to cook a good soup. Now I want you to imagine a world of your own making. What would you do? Just know that whatever you chose for your world, you cannot unmake that choice. You will forfeit all else. 

You might be surprised by how simple your answer is. 

In my world. I would always be a storyteller. 

I do like to take things further. Writer's like details. 

My world would be a cottage, tiny house, tree house, cabin by water or by thick old forest, a place for my books, a piano and writing tools. Quill pen, 1940's typewriter, laptop, tablet, pencil and paper...

Isn't life actually, frightening simple?


You're probably already living parts of it. All you need to make it your universe, might be to let go of the feelings of Right or Wrong. Be creative. Be an Imaginist. (Someone who connects things together to create something new, at least seven times a day). 

What's your imaginary life? 

Reminding Imaginary People,

No comments:

Post a Comment