How to Be an Artist in Under One Year

It is in the process of learning how not to pretend – how to actually be ourselves – that we find, over time, the head-space (the energy) to imagine again. A quote if I may, from Annie Dillard, “No child on earth was ever meant to be ordinary, and you can see it in them, and they know it, too, but then the times get to them and they wear out their brains learning what folks expect, and spend all their strength trying to rise over those same folks.” Children instinctively let their minds wander and construct alternate realities for themselves. For comfort, entertainment, or some subliminal need that the child, in wandering, has somehow forgotten. The need is but a means to an end. A happenstance catalyst for imagination. Of course, the glorified wanderings of children are often not refined, though they may be odd. Their imaginary realms are sorely lacking in backstory and tend to be alternately walled or flimsy around the edges. The world ends abruptly or simply peters-out in uncertainty. Both types of perimeter prompts a swift return to the central theme, be it space, monsters, unicorns, dinosaurs, trains, insects, ballerinas, or large reptiles.

It is interesting to me that <!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>space, monsters, unicorns, dinosaurs, trains, insects, ballerinas, and large reptiles are not of more interest to adults. These are all perfectly lovely and interesting subjects. However, we seem bored by such things. As if we are jaded experts who are unconcerned with learning more. Really, though, how many of know much more than hardly anything at all about space, it’s traits, limits, and possibilities?

Adults have interest primarily in pursuits seen as relevant and appropriate within the context of their real lives. Adults are big into reality. So much so that even our imaginary pursuits are –within the broad realm of imagination – dreadfully similar to our physical reality.

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