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The Care and Feeding of the Imagination - The Missing Alphabet
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The Care and Feeding of the Imagination

Your imagination doesn’t speak English.

It uses sensory language and sensory knowings to communicate with your conscious mind. For example, if you are riding your bike down the street and start to skid and fall, the “idea” for what to do to catch your balance is a kinetic idea. It’s a movement impulse that comes to you from your imagination, lightening fast…no words involved.

The same is true for solving the problem of: “I’m hungry. What can I have for a snack?” Your imagination kicks in with taste ideas, or even texture ideas like creaminess or “something crunchy would be good right now.” If you’ve had lots of experiences with making food, your imagination might have a really big file drawer of ideas to send you. But the idea will most likely come to you first as a taste impulse, which will then come before the next thought: “I wonder where Aunt Hilda’s recipe for corn soup is?”

If you think about your everyday life, you’ll realize how much you rely on your imagination. Even if you never notice it. So how do you fill up the file drawers of your imagination? That is a primary goal when you want to learn how to think creatively.

Gracie-rubbing smFirst, learn the language the imagination speaks. Learn your Sensory Alphabet. It generates the basic vocabulary your imagination uses. Take TEXTURE for an example.  Have as many sensory experiences with texture as you can. Let your hands notice the many textures of foods, fabrics, animals’ coats. Make rubbings of stones, sidewalks, different tree barks. Collect the various textures of clouds with a camera. Play with these elements. This is what will generate fluency of ideas.

It just makes sense. The more you feed your imagination with sensory experiences, the more filled up your interior file drawers become. And then, the more ideas your imagination can give you back…on demand. You’ll be speaking the same language.

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