When Wallie and I read today’s “Daily Prompt” the first thing I did was put Wallie in the kitchen with a plate of cookies and tell him to behave. If there is one thing Wallie is, it is not self-deprecating. He has a very high opinion of himself.
It can be awkward to share one’s strengths if you are insecure. Some people like to keep their cards hidden. I follow this line, preferring to show the product of my talent and see what others think without praising it myself. After all, it would be terribly awkward if you professed yourself the greatest poet who ever lived and then wrote, I don’t know:
“Tee-hee,” quoth she, and we were shot:
These classics without classic thought!
In this time alone together
Let us ever say forever
Remembering that never
Should we ever
It’s not Shakespeare for certain. But that said, the imagination is my gift and it is best expressed in writing and art. I say it’s a gift because the imagination is a tricky thing to lay your finger on. It feels like something more outside of yourself than intrinsically your own. Robert Louis Stevenson, that wonderful tale-teller, was very astute when he wrote that coming up with story ideas was like little Brownies, or fairies, whispering things in your ears.
Sometimes, ideas are as surprising to the writer and artist as they may be to a reader or viewer.
Edgar Allan Poe likened the imagination to something almost visionary, a link between the material and invisible world. I incline to follow his line of thinking simply because it makes me nervous to think of the Brownies.
But it isn’t just imagination: there is a kernel of truth in your imperfect dream. It might come through only in snatches, like listening through a door, but it’s there. I hesitate to call imagination my own, though it’s mine to the extent it is, because as I said it doesn’t always feel like something you actively perform. What is inspiration but a gift? And it’s a curious gift, too, like something in Wonderland. No matter how much of it you share, lend, serve, spill or scrape, the pot is rarely empty. Not that’s always on the boil—sometimes it’s quite cold. But it’s stirring, and when it rises it’s worth the wait.