Saturday, June 4, 2016

Imagination by Christine DePetrillo

“Get a book,” I told one of my students before we were about to start state testing in my school. When students finish a testing session, they must silent read until the entire class is done. I’m not going to lie to you. This is pure torture. It’s very hard for eleven-year olds to be silent for sixty minutes or more in some cases. Social creatures by nature, anything that requires strict silence is cruel and unusual punishment to them.

It isn’t all that fun for me either. I turn into this glaring-eyed witch who shushes kids. I’m like the stereotypical librarian with her hair in a severe bun and a clench to her jaw. 

Anyway, I asked this student to get a book so he’d be ready when he finished his test. He replied with, “I always have a book in my head. It’s called my imagination.”

I instantly fell in love with this quote. I made a poster of it and slapped it up on our wall. What a great way to think of books and imagination. And he’s totally right. When used properly, imagination will always give you something to do. I’ve often been in a waiting room and made a fun game out of imagining what the people around me are thinking or what kind of lives they live. I can go to a crowded mall and improvise full conversations between strangers. I play the “what if” game any time of day and always come up with stuff that entertains me.

I’m not saying it would entertain anyone else, but the point is your imagination can amuse you. It’s what it’s there for. To take reality and make something else out of it. To extend beyond the laws of the real world. To travel without having to spend a dime.

So go ahead and pretend your dog is actually a fire-breathing dragon that’s come to take you on a quest—one you’ve been preparing for your entire life.

Don’t hesitate to mentally role-play how you’d subdue a knife-wielding criminal while you’re standing in line at your local bank.

What if your favorite celebrity was in line in front of you at the grocery story? What would you do? Talk to him/her? After you’ve checked out what they’re buying first, right?

The key is: Don’t stop using your imagination. Ever. No matter how old you are.

You’ll always have a “book” to enjoy if you let your imagination loose.


The Maple Leaf Series, Books One through Six, available now! Book One, More Than Pancakes, is always FREE in ebook! 


RE Mullins said...

My imagination is my best friend. I don't understand how anyone can feel lonely or bored when they've got an imagination to use.
Thanks for the great post and reminding us to enjoy the stories in our heads.

Jannine Gallant said...

When people ask, "How do you think up all those stories?" I always wonder about their lack of imagination. Sure, everyone isn't equipped to write those stories down in a coherent manner, but surely everyone should be able to think up terrific plots. Right? Great post, Chris, and kudos to the kid with the imagination!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Amen. People-watching is my favorite an airport, a grocery store, at Starbucks. What is their story and what if I could jump in their brain for a little while to see how they perceive the world? It's a great game and one that makes time pass quickly. I am rarely bored because my imagination is having a field day!

Leah St. James said...

Wow, that is one wise 11-year-old! Good for him. He (and you) are so right! I spend a lot of time people-watching as well. I create scenarios for them, give them names and back stories. I try to isolate small details that I might use in a story at some point--what they are wearing, their body language. People-watching is fascinating, and fun!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

LOL I love this, Christine, AND that kid. I can't imagine going through life without spending a good deal of time in the land of my imagination. It's where all the possibilities live and boredom can't survive. :-)

Anonymous said...

What a smart kid! I hope he did well on his tests--he certainly deserved to. He must have been proud of you putting up his quote on the wall for the entire class.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Yep, that kid is definitely going places. People watching is one of my favorite past times too. We were on a nature walk with friends recently and I was doing the whole what if there's someone hiding in the woods thing. Some were amused. I think. Or not. Great post, Chris. Something we can never forget.

Diane Burton said...

That kid will be a writer or an inventor. :-) My imagination can take me anywhere, or I can be anyone. How freeing.