Relight your fire

sometimes it only takes a stranger in a dark place … to make us warm in the coldest season*
(Neil Gaiman)

Creating the future does not begin with a plan. It begins with a dream. And when someone acts on a dream, it creates a spark.**
(Alex McManus)

A dream outlives a plan – indeed, will live in many plans.

In his renowned speech, Martin Luther King Jr. did not declare “I have a plan.” We would not remember the words of a plan almost 60 years later but we remember a dream – this morning, I am touched by the thought that I have stood on the place where King gave this speech of a little over six minutes on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial – that’s the power of a dream.

We are made for reality and imagination, not only one or the other. When we cannot imagine and dream life can become suffocating and have a terrible affect on the human psyche.

What to do, then?

These words from Tavi Gevinson caught my attention:

Being a person is tricky, but other people do it, too – all people, in fact! – and they’ve recorded how. Their words reach a higher-pitched buzz if resonance in my brain once I’ve held them in my hands, put them on a shelf, passed them everyday. Or copied them down into a journal, a book of my own, ’cause seeing them in my handwriting is more effective than just filing them away in my brain.^

Let us read books and watch movies that feed the imagination (I’ve put together a short list of my favourites, below.) Journal to record and reflect in order to make sure these things don’t disappear like morning mist. Connect with people who have benevolent imagination, and share imaginatively with others. Never be apologetic for keeping your fire burning.

(*Neil Gaiman, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Bloom: A Touching Animated Short Film about Depression and What it Takes to Recover the Light of Being.)
(**From Alex McManus’ Makers of Fire.)
(^From Tavi Gevinson‘s letter to young readers in aMria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s A Velocity of Being.)

A SHORT BOOK LIST (as well as those listed above, here’s a very diverse list of some of my favourites)
Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must
Benjamin and Rosalind Zander’s The Art of Possibility
Anything by Roald Dahl: my favourites are Danny, Champion of the World, The BFG and Matilda
Austin Kleon’s three books: Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, and Keep Going
Peter Reynolds’ Ish
Erwin McManus’ The Artisan Soul
John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes
Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception (and Stop Stealing Dreams)
David Schenk’s The Genius in All of Us
My own Slow Journeys in the Same Direction


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