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Inner Demons, Beasts, and Other Creatures

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The Imagination Hellion

In most circles, imagination receives praise. Doesn’t it? I love imagination. But sometimes it prowls around the halls of one’s mind stirring up trouble.

We say we love imagination. We buy toys for our children that are supposed to encourage imagination. We lament television and what it does to imagination. I remember the short time between the third Harry Potter book and the first Harry Potter film. Someone on the radio talked about how we’d no longer be able to imagine our own Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We’d soon imagine the actors hired for the parts.

Yet in many workplaces, for all the hype about imagination, managers reward the tried-and-true, not the never-before-thought-of. Imagination can be quite a hellion. Imagination wants things different, wants change and change is scary.

Imagination keeps us up at night. What’s that sound at the window? Will the tree withstand the wind or collapse on our living room? Why is my loved one late? Has something happened? All those somethings rush pell-mell, wrecking havoc, raising hell in what we wish were the safe spaces of our minds.

Once a boss said to me that kids wouldn’t get certain ideas in their heads if certain authors didn’t put them there. Maybe. Who’s responsible for whose imagination?

Do some people have no imagination? They can’t imagine changing anything. They can’t imagine anyone choosing to live another way or to believe something different. The Imagination Hellion may cause trouble, but it brings color and life to barren landscapes and monotone lives.

My Imagination Hellion gets away from me. It keeps me up at night. It feeds on stories in the news and memories. Writing helps rein the Imagination Hellion. On paper I tell the Hellion what to do. and it’s happy. On paper anything truly is possible. I love my little Hellion in spite of the trouble it causes.

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