Last week, my friend Peter shared his sister’s blog post about Christmases when they were growing up. In the post, his sister mentioned that his parents had made a lot of their Christmas gifts, and it reminded me of my favorite Christmas gift ever, which, to this day, has never been topped.
I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but I was young enough to be playing with Barbie dolls. That Christmas, I had asked Santa for some new dolls, “Tammy and her family”—which included Tammy, her mom and dad, and a brother and sister.
Anyway, my parents (AKA “Santa”) decided to make a dollhouse for me to go along with my new Tammy dolls. They went out and got cardboard boxes, cut off the lids, turned them on their sides and attached them to each other so that they formed a house with four rooms—two up and two down. Mom got wallpaper samples and covered the “walls” of the rooms, and she made sofas and beds out of shoeboxes, even sewing bedspreads and pillows for them. They used my Barbie dolls to measure stuff for the house, which is where the problem came in. Continue reading
This alone is to be feared—the closed mind, the sleeping imagination, the death of the spirit. The death of the body, I think, is a little thing.
For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I’ve spent the evening packing up books in preparation for my move to North Carolina. It’s going to take a while, because everywhere I turn, in every room, there are a lot of books. Although I’ve let go of a fair number of books in recent years, and I’ve been trying to patronize my local library recently instead of buying books, I’m a little amazed to realize how many books I still have.
Books are spiritual and mental comfort food for me; I’ve rarely been in a place where I didn’t have a book close at hand. In fact, the only exceptions I can think of are two ten-day meditation retreats I attended in Massachusetts back in the mid-90s. (To ensure that we maintained our inward focus, we weren’t allowed to have reading materials.) Reading has always been a big part of my life, and I usually have a couple of books going at any given time.
When I’m stuck emotionally or wrestling with a problem, I often end up at a bookstore, wandering the aisles and waiting for the right book to jump off the shelf Continue reading
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
~Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
…the belief that life is a continuum of reasonable events with scripted and manicured outcomes is rooted in fear. What’s more, it prevents you from imagining that you can accomplish anything that reason calls impossible…. Achieving the impossible requires that you outwit your voice of reason and access the whimsical part of your nature that inherently delights in the possibilities of the imagination.
~Caroline Myss, Defy Gravity
Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.
~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You
No matter how qualified or deserving you are, you will never reach a better life until you can imagine it for yourself, and allow yourself to have it.
The key to life is imagination. If you don’t have that, no matter what you have, it’s meaningless. If you do have imagination…you can make a feast of straw.
~Jane Stanton Hitchcock