My daughter is two and a half and her imagination knows no bounds. And it has got me thinking. Do we all start off with this ability to create fantasy worlds? Are some of us better at it than others? Does the imagination morph into different forms from one original rendering, or do we all start off with different imaginary worlds?
As a fiction writer and a songwriter, I am pretty used to imagining different worlds and characters and predicaments. Some people might assume this means that I retained more of my ability to imagine, but there are also people who imagine new buildings, new machines, new innovations. There are cooks who imagine new dishes. There are financial experts who imagine what the trends in the stock market will be. So, we all imagine to some extent and in different ways. I think.
What is interesting to me is that my daughter has a very ‘storytelling’ imagination. She likes to recreate scenes from Disney movies. She likes to pretend. And what is fiction but pretending on a more pretentious scale? Will this mean she will grow up and want to write? Does it translate like that? Are our future engineers locked to their Lego sets? Are our future chefs mixing imaginary dishes with tiny plastic cookware? I would have to say yes and no.
My daughter likes to pretend to cook. She likes to build things with Legos. She likes to draw and paint. And I think we all start out this way. We all start out with imaginations that can be pulled and tweaked in many directions. It is interesting, then, that as time goes by, we corral our imaginations. I may write stories and songs, but I don’t design bridges. I have a friend who is a mechanical engineer, but he doesn’t write stories.
When does this happen? Granted, there are those folks who do design buildings and paint and write symphonies. But it seems most of us narrow our focus. Is this because we don’t have as much time and we have to choose? Or do we gravitate towards what we are better at?
I suppose there are people who don’t spend much time imagining one way or another. I feel really bad for those people. Creation…creativity…in all its forms seems to me to be one of the more interesting things that human beings are capable of. The ability to make something out of nothing is a pretty wonderful thing.
Right now, I am quite enjoying watching my daughter explore the different corners of her imagination. Someday, she will probably narrow her focus like the rest of us, but right now I can imagine her writing novels, building new types of houses, finding a new way to make pastries. The possibilities are endless and that is fine with me.