All of a sudden, there was more in the image than just what was on the screen. No, I wasn’t seeing things and life wasn’t turning into a strange fantasy novel, but hmmm …
No, what happened was that my mind was in the process of chasing down images from this movie that I had created as a child. It was bigger than just a two-dimensional puzzle. To be honest, it was even bigger than the movie, which I’ve seen several times as an adult. No, what my mind was attempting to chase was imagery that I had fully developed when my childhood brain saw the movie. I had gone far beyond what was on the screen, creating fully-fleshed-out, three-dimensional locations.
It seems that I did this quite often, because this is a phenomenon that has occurred more than once.
The first time I recognized it was when I picked up Seuss’s book, “The Cat in the Hat” to read to a friend’s little boy. I read through the book with him and when we were finished I felt like something was missing. The book was still fantastic, but this was probably the first time I’d read it since I’d been a child and it was flat. Gone were the living, breathing fish in the bowls. They were nothing more than pictures and words on a page.
Funny, though … as I write this now … what exists in my mind is a picture of fluttering fish as they try to regain their fishbowl! The words and pictures exist as my childhood’s mind remembers them.
This happens often with novels that I’ve re-read. The first time I read a book, my mind creates the entire scene in full detail, even if the author doesn’t write it out. In fact, I prefer that all they do is give me a frame of reference and release me to the story. My imagination will do the rest of the work.
Now, I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate horror / slasher movies. I discovered that one of the reasons my vehemence is so strong is that I am not in control of my imagination during a movie. The gore, slashing and horror soon take precedence over the storyline and I get so caught up in it that my focus spins out of control. I can read those books with no problem because the author rarely presents the slasher / gore / horror with detail my mind can’t absorb.
The title of this post comes from years ago. One of my favorite evangelists (Tommy Tyson) often used it to describe the imagination. When I think of the diversity and interconnectedness of the people in just our nation – not even the entire world, that phrase excites me. That’s what I want my imagination to be.
Have you ever re-read a book and discovered that things were missing in the story – only to realize that was because you’d created so much around the story in your imagination?