I am currently reading a book entitled “Hard Boiled Wonderland & The End Of The World” by Haruki Murakami. It is a novel that was recommended to me by a co-worker who is younger than I am by 25 years and whose tastes form a much different reality than those that I am most familiar with.
That being said, I am thankful that I am still in a position where I can be challenged in many mind expanding ways as it pertains to movies, music and literature. What I have found is the paths that I have walked down most of my life were beginning to get a bit threadbare and to experience what others have discovered in their walk is a real adventure.
I don’t always find the flow with what is recommended, but I am pleased with the fact that there is a lot more to experience that I would have found on my own.
One of my favorite pastimes used to be wandering the isles of most any bookstore, chain or independent, and wait for a book to “speak to me”. I know that must sound a bit odd but I have discovered some very good poets and writers using this technique.
But I digress.
While reading the Murakami book, which is unlike anything I have read before, I was presented with this thought: Where in the world do fiction writers go in their imagination in order to create these alternate realities. How can they see the paths their characters travel and describe this journey in such vivid terms. And in the process create a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end—or some such rendering as well.
As a writer of poetry I must say that my approach to this medium is more like a short story writer rather than a novelist. I am often inspired by a quick thought or two that might lead me around the block but very rarely do I find myself in another state or universe. I like reading stuff that provokes my thought process and takes me into my imagination but doesn’t require a PhD to understand. In my narratives, I have been known to skip from ABC to XYZ without much explanation and I tend to make assumptions about my readers ability to follow my sometimes meandering byways. Otherwise, I am a quick study type—I like to visit for a moment and then catch the next train to the next station.
One of my favorite bible verses is at the very beginning of Genesis where we are told that, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”—with the emphasis on the word “created”. The Hebrew word translated “create” is Bara which means to form, fashion by cutting, shape out. When the creation story is looked at from the novelists perspective, God’s imagination is heads above any story that has been written or verbally passed on since. We are given the idea that God saw the beginning, the middle and the end even before we read that man gave names to all the animals.
Knowing that God created and had a fantastic imagination, I have to ask myself, where is this same sense of creation and imagination being taught and or used today. Now I am not thinking about creation/imagination in terms of inventions (cars, airplanes, iPhones, medical breakthroughs, etc.) but as we can apply it to living our daily lives. It seems like many of us get into a habitual rut of just doing the next thing and fail to see life as the creative journey it really is. As a people group we are afraid of “different” and act like marching to the beat of a that different drummer is something only odd balls do. If we stopped long enough to pick up the beat we might actually enjoy it and much like taking a co-workers advice on another book to read, our lives would be impacted in a positive way.
Sure, we are all unique and I readily admit that I don’t have my wife’s ability to scope out a piece of land and turn it into a landscapers’s paradise—much as she has done with our modest country acre. She can just “see it” much as I can see and troubleshoot things in the realm of computers and digital design.
Yet I find myself many times falling far short of the creative thinking and use of imagination I was and am endowed with by the Creator of the universe. If we were indeed created in the image of God, then we have the inherent ability to live life creatively abundant in whatever moment we are faced with.
And while I don’t have this whole thing thought out yet, it is something I am going to allow my mind to drift with during this long ride I find myself on. I hope you can do the same or similar—find your own beat and follow it down the highway.