Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fanning the Flames

Have you ever just sat staring at your computer screen, wondering, what shall I write? You tap your fingers on the keyboard as if warming them up to run a marathon, yet nothing happens. Your hands begin to wonder if they are plugged into your brain. You flex your fingers, crack your knuckles and enter a transitory state, with eyes glazed as your brain begins to filter through all the various subjects that pique your curiosity. A vampire, werewolves, fairies, witches, magic, dragons, hmmm… all just words and no story to support them.

As you stare into the backlit screen of your laptop, hoping that something… anything would pop into your mind to become a story, you realize you’ve been preoccupied with reality. You’ve not taken the time to travel to the depths of your mind. You’ve not fantasized, dreamed, or even wished upon a star. Reality kicks butt! Yet deep within, the furnace needs stoking. Peeking inside is one smoldering coal. It slowly exhausts the fuel it once had. Around the edges of that coal are the fire retardant remnants of reality pressing in to snuff out the vibrant glow and fierce heat that it once inspired.

Sadness, even pity takes hold as you realize you’ve neglected the one unique feature of yourself… your imagination. You open the furnace grate and begin to fan the heat and glow of that one ember of coal. You watch as the glow brightens and sparks start to fly. But, all this fanning will quench the ember in due time unless fuel is added for the ember’s appetite. “I must feed my sole ember.” So, you pull a thought from your own mind as if it is a beautiful strand of twisted fiber that you hope is weaved into a bigger story. Perhaps then, something might unravel and feed that lone ember in the belly of your fertile imagination.

At first, words become kindling. Like thin pieces of wood, you throw words atop the glowing cinder, feeding that once anemic appetite. Soon, a spark lights a fire the words you’ve begun to weave. Gently you breathe life into the small flame. You add more and soon your words become sentences, which then begin a thought, and finally, you have written a creative exercise that flexes the anemic burn from deep within.

Your creativity begins to flex and glow, burning hotter, glowing brighter, and growing larger. You realize how lucky you were to find that one ember of coal to build upon. Never again will you neglect your own creativity, the one thing that makes you feel alive. Maintaining the fire within requires input and output. The fire must breathe and be fed. It must consume before it can give anything.

Not everything you feed your imagination has to be worthy of readers. However, like any other muscle in your physical body, your imagination needs a workout too. Stay practiced. Stay sharp. As you do, you will find that the seeds sown in your fertile imagination will create a magnificent masterpiece.

No comments: