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