What do you imagine?

What do you imagine?

I have been thinking of something my friend Madelon Bolling once shared with me, I think way back in my dissertation days at the UW:

“Try to spend a little time every day imagining the unimaginable.”

I want to imagine taking a trip to the British Isles (including Ireland, where my friend Cherie Langlois snapped this photo)…I want to imagine going there with my husband and having a lovely time.

I want to imagine being fully mobile again! (Stupid ankle!)

I want to imagine finishing this damned novel and starting on the next big thing.

I want to imagine being the full-time writer I’ve dreamed of being almost my entire life.

I want to imagine owning a horse.

I want to stop wanting to imagine and actually imagine. This, in itself, will be a leap. (I’m so glad I noticed it.) 

What do you imagine?

5 replies
  1. Donata
    Donata says:

    I must have a chunk of time each week that I imagine…Typically I imagine my ideal family dinner in my ideal home. Then I imagine my ideal garden in an ideal place where I create elixirs and liqeurs and preserves and teas and meals. ….I love love love imagining

  2. Janet
    Janet says:

    I imagine being young (and less damaged) and enjoying courtship and marriage with the man of my dreams. And I am getting to know him, and the self he brings out in me, better and better. Also, I imagine having had a horse, back in the days when I could have ridden and loved it. These are such re-envigorating and instructive imaginings and I feel myself growing from them.

  3. awritersalchemy
    awritersalchemy says:

    Janet, I keep thinking of one small comment you made at the retreat. I said, “I want …” (you can fill in the blank, and you said, “I want an Arabian mare.” You made me realize how some desires don’t serve me, and just make me feel worse. Maybe I need to find a way to transform that particular wish into one that nourishes me. ???

    • Janet
      Janet says:

      I was thinking of Julia Kristeva when I said that. She would spend the afternoon in the summer racing her Arabian mare up and down the beach, because she had married a leading French intellectual who was also landed nobility and had a castle on the sea. But she had to make a trade-off for all of that, one which I am not willing to make. So what I meant was, you can’t have everything (in a lifetime), so focus on enjoying and going after the deeply-desired things that you DO have or that you CAN pursue.
      Maybe it’s because I’m a decade older, but I’ve felt myself actually letting go of some deep and long-held dreams, just letting them and saying they weren’t my portion, as it turned out, because of the miraculous fact that a couple of my other greatest dreams GENUINELY have come true. Most people don’t get that much, if anything.

  4. cherielanglois
    cherielanglois says:

    I hope you’re imaginings come true, Bethany! I also think what you said above makes so much sense, about how “some desires don’t serve me, and make me feel worse…” I know I have some like that. Right now, I like to imagine my daughter graduating from college and getting a job that makes her happy. I imagine completing the novel I’m working on, and it actually being good enough to have a chance at publication. I imagine my body holding out so I can run/walk a 10 k, then a half marathon, and finally a marathon. I imagine my garden filled with good things to eat this summer (and not too many slugs). And that’s just for starters! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply to Janet Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *