Careful, one of your greatest assets may have atrophied; hopefully it is not dead.
Every free moment is consumed with scrolling through the social media feed filled with images and videos. A downside of this imagery influx, is now we see an actress as Little Red Riding Hood and her face becomes defined. If read, our imagination builds the image of the young heroine, and my image may be far different than yours.
Alfred Hitchcock said, "I can't read fiction without visualizing every scene. The result is it becomes a series of pictures rather than a book." Movie producers try hard to match or surpass our imagination and with computer-generated imagery, and they continue to gain ground. However, until they can read every mind and tailor the film to match; there will be a gap.
Most of my reading has been non-fiction. I have recently enjoyed several fiction books and appreciate how my imagination was used to sweep me away to another time and place. The description of the turtle crossing the road in the opening pages of The Grapes of Wrath prepared me for an enduring story of heartbreak, as I walked with the Joad family through the Depression.
Hearing Neil Gaiman narrate The Graveyard Book and tell the story of Nobody "Bod" Owens was incredible. I listened to the audiobook while stripping and painting the trim on my house. Often, during my approach to the front door, I will experience flashbacks of Bod's encounters with the living, dead, and those somewhere in between. The story quenched my parched imagination.
I do not enjoy math. I have heard that those who love the subject, are entranced by the symmetry, the beauty, and the eternal presence of the discipline. I am grateful many fall into this category. I read The Housekeeper and the Professor as a way to encounter and appreciate math's virtue, wrapped in a compelling story. Yoko Ogawa's descriptions engaged my imagination and began to bend my will favorably toward the discipline.
No doubt, you have favorite books that set your imagination ablaze. Embrace the gift that is not constrained by natural limits. Engaging this precious resource delivers solutions. Stoke the fire to see the impossible, then return and make it possible
Going Further: What books sparked your imagination? How do you consistently challenge your imagination? How have you used your imagination to solve real- world problems? What other imagination question comes to mind?