Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Musings: The Imaginers

Writing is a magical and extraordinary process. It allows a person the opportunity to open a door to places of infinite wonder, the door to the imagination. In the world of today, we have countless individuals who are doing our imagining for us. However, what if…just what if there were no more imaginers in the world? Would we be stuck watching the same old TV shows, videos, or movies for the rest of our lives?

There is many a young person who will say things like, “literature is boring.” BORING? Never! Literature is a gateway to so many other things: Scientific discoveries unimagined. I wonder if Ray Bradbury found literature to be boring; Romantic interludes of untold proportions. I wonder if Margaret Mitchell found literature to be boring; Social dramas that boggle the average man’s mind. I wonder if Charles Dickens found literature to be boring.
I remember in fourth grade music class we listened to Jules Verne’s epic story, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In the class we were to appreciate the symphonic background music in the telling of the story. However, I was listening to the story and I could imagine just how mysterious Captain Nemo really was. I could imagine everything about him, the way he looked, how he smelled, how his voice resonated, there was nothing and everything that was left to the imagination. He was a 19th century Robin Hood, a super hero of the time fighting against imperialism and oppression everywhere. He was a villain and a hero. He was whichever you decided him to be. I suspect there were twenty-eight versions of Captain Nemo in that fourth grade music room. Years later I saw the movie. I was decidedly disappointed that the Captain looked nothing like I had imagined, the Nautilus wasn’t at all the way I pictured it in my mind. And the whole story just wasn’t the same.

That’s the problem with many books that are turned into movies; it’s just not the same. I heard the unrelenting lamentations from my daughters regarding how different the Harry Potter movies were from the books, or how the Twilight books were so much better, and most recently how The Hunger Games left out too many important details in the movie. I dare say, when Shades of Gray comes out in the movie format there will be many a disappointed woman in the world. I never read the books and can safely say that I won’t. I have my limits on what I find acceptable and what I don’t. ‘Shades’ just doesn’t fall within those parameters.
In recent years we have had some pretty stellar stories (in the eye of the beholder of course), yet the movie adaptations just seem to fall short. What does that say about the human imagination? Once it’s fed, it has an insatiable need to be fed forever. We like things to be the way we envision them, and oftentimes find ourselves in discontent over the other guy’s version.

Once the door to imagination is open, I dare say it can never be closed. The future of the world depends on imagination, and that my friends, is where literature plays a significant role. After the games of pretend from childhood end, where does one find the fantasy of life? It’s found in literature.

Go ahead! Take a chance. Open a book and see where the story leads you. You have nothing to lose. Get your imagination on!

Monday Musings: Are you an imaginer too?