It is ten o’clock at night and, having been up since five as usual, the blank page is staring at me with something akin to mockery. The post is due out in the morning and is, as yet, unwritten. Even worse… I haven’t had chance to think about what to write. The only thing to do is start; what then comes will be as much a surprise to me as to any reader.
That is the way I prefer to write, listening to the dictates of imagination, itself a blank page upon which we can write absolutely anything. Some writers plot every twist in a story, others just have the vaguest idea and write to see where the words lead them. Either way, their tale is born first in the imagination and, no matter from where it takes its inspiration, it can never have taken quite that form before. Writing and reading are an endless source of surprise and a constant reminder that we can revel in wonder.
It is an endless source of delight that within the same imagination worlds can be born within a grain of sand, caterpillars can talk and dragons discourse in iambic pentameter. We do not question their reality, because, within the imagination anything is possible. Their reality is their own and defined by their being, not the cold rules of science and probability.
We never know, from one moment to the next, what will happen within the landscape of the mind. It is an infinite playground, presenting amazement to the inner eye that looks on without so much a flicker of disbelief. What the imagination gives us is accepted without question for what it is, in much the same way as we viewed the world as children; a world where fairies could wait at the bottom of the garden and countries could be found beyond the wardrobe door.
It is only as we grow up that we begin to accept a world that tells us such things cannot exist. Our beliefs are constrained by the boundaries of a reality determined by physics and consensus. Yet the imagination admits no such restriction. It is the greatest freedom we have and a treasure available to all.
And imagination never grows old … or grows up.