Friday, May 25, 2012
Let’s Hear it for Imagination!
All of my life I’ve heard that you should write about what you know. That sounds like good advice…on the surface…however, if we writers really followed that advice there’d be a lot of novels about overworked and underpaid drones whose idea of a hot time is drinking a second cup of overly sweet punch after a PTA meeting, defining true decadence as having a stale cookie with the punch.
I say, thank gawd for the imagination.
Nothing provides more entertainment for the human animal than our imaginations. As children we dumped the kitchen chairs upside down and threw a blanket over them, calling it the Starship Enterprise. We happily spent the afternoon rotating the planet Blitchnik in search of mottle headed frinkle farts who stole orgut soup from skinny, blond haired snerks. We fully intended to muffle the jerks with wax lips and beat them senseless with our Spider Man Yo-Yos when we caught them.
Life was good.
Our imaginations took a slightly different turn when we became adults, but they were no less potent. See the happily married couple in a bar pretending they’ve never met before. In their imaginations, he’s a rich, successful surgeon and she’s a lonely fashion model on break from a particularly difficult string bikini shoot. Never mind that the only surgery he performs is on the toilet, when the tank thingy sticks, and she hasn’t seen the inside of a bikini since bearing their ten children, when she discovered that she could build a treasure map on her stomach with a felt tip pen and an array of very interesting stretch marks. In their heads they’re young, powerful, and vibrant.
Life is good. (And in this case…so is the sex!)
Our personalities make us what we are. Our brains help us maneuver through life relatively unscathed. But our imaginations turn it all into an amusement park ride for which we keep getting back into line. I celebrate the imagination, and recognize its need to feed. Which is why, I believe, so many of us devour novels like starving chocoholics at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (Ahh to do the breast stroke in that chocolate river!). Through fiction we give our imaginations room to fly. I believe that’s just as important to our health as getting that damned colonoscopy the medical community has banded together to foist upon all of us! So irritating… But I digress…
I tend to do that.
As writers, we are blessed to be part of the care and feeding of our readers’ imaginations through our writing. But the very best part is that the imagination has many and diverse needs. It needs to laugh. It needs to be surprised. It needs danger and adventure. And sometimes it just needs to cry. This opens up so many opportunities for the writer of fiction, allowing each of us to find our niche in this land of opportunity.
My niche involves providing mind candy. I know many writers want to believe their writing is epic and life changing. Not me. I’m looking for my readers to release a few endorphins through excitement and laughter. Real life is complex and difficult. Endorphins make us feel good. Most of us, when we pick up a book, just want to be entertained. My books will never lecture or solve real problems. But they will make you smile, gasp, feel really good, and yes…occasionally…even yell at the characters. Because the stories are built around a subliminal message that I don’t think most people can resist. The message? It’s this: Isn’t this a lot of fun? Let’s do it again sometime. #:0) But having said that, I don’t want you to think I view my books as unimportant. I don’t think there’s anything more important than making someone feel good. I view that as one of my most important missions in life. And I’d like to think I have a gift for it.