Gift Two: Creativity and Imagination

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Your Story Matters is a blog dedicated to encouraging you as a storyteller and as a writer, no matter where you are in these giftings. You may be young or old, naïve or wise in these gifts.  Stay open to learning and building these gifts.

And as my blog builds, we’ll find ways to communicate our thoughts concerning our storytelling and writing within the context of our faith in God.  Right now, it feels like a one-sided conversation we’re having.  The blog is new and maybe you’re new to the idea of a blog. I would encourage you to register and share a thought or two with other readers.  I know you’ll encourage them… and me!  You can also copy our navigation into an email and send it on to a friend.

Now, let’s get back to The 7 Gifts of Story.  We’ve already looked at one of the gifts—Rest and the Shhh-ing (Quieting) of our Soul.

Gift Two: Creativity and Imagination

[audio:|titles=Gift Two]

In quieting and resting in a story, imagination is engaged.  Now, for an adult this is a fairly wonderful thing.  Yes, the resting is very good, too, but engaging our imagination is good for those adult dendrites of ours and the building of brain reserves.

I’d like to talk a little bit about story and the gift of imagination and creativity.

Storytelling is theater of the mind. I prompt you with the invitation of “I want to tell you a story…” and you begin to engage as children do very naturally.  You become quiet and still on the rug of your soul.  As I (or another teller) tell the story, you begin to use your beautiful imagination—painting vivid pictures in your mind’s eye.

Stories reignite the imagination that has become dusty and rusty from living in the adult day-to-day reality.  It brings forward sensory images and memories that are there, but latent.  After spending time using our imagination, we feel re-charged and ready to conquer a task, or even create something fresh and new.

In fact, today you can practice activating our creativity with a story!  I’ll leave a story on this blog entry called, “The Sack,” and you can try this exercise and it will awaken your imagination related to story.  Search for the colored pencils or crayons now, grab some copier paper and when that story is finished draw the first image that comes to your mind. Just draw, don’t correct or critique what comes forward.  The story is rich in description and will evoke some feelings and experiences.  From that drawn image, write a sentence or question that comes to mind.  Place this aside.  Revisit it later in the day.  Your mind will have activated on the visual and written prompt.

Writers, spend great amounts of time using their imagination to create stories.  The writer of fiction has to imagine the characters, the setting, the time, the problem to be solved, the action leading up to the resolution of that problem… and much, much more.

A clever and imaginative writer lives creatively in everyday ways.  She looks at the world differently.  He is amused with and attracted to the world around him, always ready with a pen in hand or a trusty hand-held device ready to dictate and record a few thoughts to bring to the paper later on.

As writers we infuse our creativity when we practice using our imagination.  As a writer, I encourage you to regularly spend time away from the page in a green place (park or a public garden, near water if possible) or a place populated with people (a coffee house or mall).  Experiment with allowing yourself to be amused and tenderized with the humanity in that setting.  Characters will begin to pop like popcorn as you let your mind drift on thoughts of “the story going on in this woman is…” or “this group of people just experienced…”.  Now, our tendency as writers would be to get this down on paper.  Hold off on the paper.  Sit on your hands or hold onto that mug of coffee.  This is a time to let the stories flow with no intent other than using your creative imagination.  Push your creativity to write (with your mind’s eye) beginnings, middles and ends in those brief moments of developing a character’s story line.  What is her/his story? Later on, see if they are still there in your memory.  If so, share your thoughts with another creative soul.  Let them add to the characterization and story. Now, write it down.  It will flow off your typing digits like water.

Here’s another imagination exercise if you’re stuck in a waiting room and there are magazines. Flip through the magazine, ignoring the written advertisement.  Cover it with your hand or a piece of paper if you can.  Look intently at the picture and imagine a character and story.  Your 15-20 minute wait will seem like 5.  Try this imagination exercise with a child.  You’ll be laughing and sharing some very wonderful stories together.  Waiting Room Storytelling!  Also, this can prove to be a calming exercise before a dentist or doctor’s appointment.

Stories and the gift of imagination and creativity seem like an obvious fit.  However, when we exercise them away from the written words on the page, the formal storytelling setting, we grow as writers and storytellers.  It’s not about practicing or rehearsing imagination as much as it is about giving your mind permission to imagine and create.

I am going to let you go now, so that you can experiment with my story, “The Sack”.  Listen Here (Scroll down story list to “The Sack”)

Until next time, when we look at the third gift of story—Connection and Community… may the story you live out today change someone.  I know it can…




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