Thursday, November 24, 2011

great big jar

The other day in Chicago, one of my co-panelists said something like this: Your imagination is limitless.

I thought about that for a moment.

Moment is a word that I rarely use. It sounds pretentious and condescending.

But I have heard that frequently. It's kind of like mass-hysteria.


Your imagination has no limits.

Or shit like that.



Yes it does have limits.

It has definite limits, and I can tell you precisely and to a pinpoint of accuracy where your imagination ends in the black, idea-less void of eternal dumbness.

Do you want to know where your imagination runs up against the sizzling barbwire fence of emptiness?

Even if it makes your head explode?


Here goes: Your imagination is only as vast as the number of words you have in your head.


In fact, it would be a simple feat to mathematically calculate the exact dimensions of your imagination based on the combination of linguistic structures and the rules by which you apply the syntactical framework of understanding -- making sense -- of those building blocks to reality.


Sorry to burst your giant balloon.

Imagination = Finite.

You can't argue with that truth.

Go ahead.

Try this: Try to imagine something that is also not a word.

You can't do it.

Even if you get all righteously indignant and try to picture something that does not exist, you will not be able to picture anything unless you begin by giving it words -- colors, teeth, hair, geometric constraints, words, words, words.

Words are reality, and reality cannot exist without words.

Which brings me back to the topic of yesterday's post: Is there too much reality in young adult (I will no longer capitalize those words because I am punishing them for being bars on my cage) literature?

I believe this: I believe there is not enough reality in young adult literature, simply because there are far too many examples that can be held up to the light of scrutiny and reveal their predictable sameness, their application of one-size-fits-all imaginations.

We will talk.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Your brains are leaking out.