Posted by: susanideus | July 23, 2010

Daydreams and Imaginings

This world is but a canvas to our imaginations. ~Henry David Thoreau

Do you daydream? I hope so! Do you indulge your imagination regularly? Tell me you do! I think everyone should. It doesn’t matter what your walk of life. Sometimes we all need a break from our daily…well, daily-ness. Some folks may choose TV and “reality” shows to accomplish this, but that’s not my way. I prefer a quiet place, pen and paper (or keyboard) and my own imaginings and daydreams.

For a long time, I daydreamed only surreptitiously, having had it drummed into my head all through childhood that daydreaming was a waste of time. And, when my mother wanted to catch me in a lie, when there was in fact not one, she’d say with great loathing “You’ve always had such an overactive imagination!”  I was a young girl, and I did have daydreams, and I had imaginary playmates. My heart still breaks sometimes for that little girl I was—how awfully sad to tell a child that her imagination is a bad thing.

Imagination is not the talent of some men, but is the health of every man. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now my daughters both daydreamed and had/have good imaginations. Both had imaginary playmates. In fact, one time we had to back-track on a short trip because Becca’s little imaginary friend, Dennis, had accidentally been left behind. Of course, we indulged her! She believed in Dennis and that was important to her. However, this could be another whole post. (Ah, those little pretend friends can be the scapegoats for so much… Hehehehe!)

As an aspiring writer, some of my favorite writing prompts have always been those having to do  with endless winding roads or open gates or long steep staircases. The gate might lead to a friend’s house or be at the beginning of a scenic walking trail. The staircase could lead to an antique-filled attic or a child;s secret hideaway, or classically, to Heaven. The road might be the continuation of a wonderful trip or a journey to search for someone or some thing. Who knows where I might need to go that day?

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Not long ago, we were on one of those endless straight highways in West Texas during a very eventful—as in life changing—trip. Looking at that road I was inspired to write this haiku:

Fiercely bright blue sky / endless Texas roads lead to / changes coming soon

I’m not trying to highlight my own imagination or creativity here. I think rather that my point is, what if I had not kept this place, this New Mexico dream, alive in my heart and soul? What if all of that love of this place and longing for connection had died because I wouldn’t/couldn’t dream about it? Many days, when I felt drifting or lost, dreams of a road back to this place kept me going. What if I had believed, along with my mother, that imagination was a bad thing? I thank God I did not.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. ~Albert Einstein

How sad to not nurture imagination. Even a scientific genius like Einstein knew that! You can go anywhere in the world if you can imagine and daydream. Emerson (see above) knew it was good for body and soul.  Can’t envision what life would be without it.

One of the best tools of imagination and one of the best friends of a writer is the book. Talk about transporting to another time or another place.  Books hold a special place in my life, from the time I was a lonely misunderstood child. Just today an online acquaintance, Pat Bean said:

I read to learn and I read to escape. Both are necessary for my well being. I can’t imagine a life without books.  ~Pat Bean

Never truer words spoken, Pat!  Be sure to visit Pat’s blog where she tells of her Travels with Maggie, as she and her cocker spaniel, Maggie, traverse this beautiful country of ours in Pat’s RV.

Daydreams and imagination can trigger memories too. Often thinking of a place or re-creating a favorite a certain scenario in your mind will take you back in time. Maybe memories are just daydreams in reverse. I saw this in a magazine not long ago and I loved it, so, of course, I added it to my list of quotes:

We all have our ‘good old days’ tucked away inside our hearts, and we return to them in daydreams like cats to favorite armchairs. — Brian Carter

Isn’t that a great way to put it?! So dream away, my friends. Use that imagination. It will add immeasurably to the pleasure of life. I hope you’ll tell me some of your favorite daydreams.  Here’s a great quote from that optimist who learned so much in kindergarten:

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge – myth is more potent than history – dreams are more powerful than facts – hope always triumphs over experience – laughter is the cure for grief – love is stronger than death. ~Robert Fulghum

That pretty much sums it up!



  1. “Maybe memories are just daydreams in reverse.” What an interesting idea. You’ve given me something to think about.

    Have you read The Mind’s Eye by Paul Fleischman? It’s a stunning look at the role of books and the imagination in our lives. It’s marketed as a “young adult” novel, but it’s really for everyone.

    I look forward to the time when our daydreams of being in print become our daydreams in print. Till then, happy writing.

    • I’ll be sure to check out that book. Thanks for the tip. Daydreams are necessary for me, but like you, I’d like to see some of them become print reality. So, as you say, we keep on writing!

  2. I also daydream of New Mexico, and lots of other places. My dream life is to flit around at least this country if not the entire world.

    Your post here reminds me of Napoleon Hill’s famous line: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Many scoffed at this in the past, but neuroscientists today have clearly demonstrated the truth in this statement. And where else would these visions for the mind arise but from daydreams?

    Dream on!

    • That’s what I love about daydreams–we can go anywhere! For me, dreams into reality is not a strange concept at all. I’m living one of mine! I enjoy your posts on your Los Alamos Girlhood site. I liked the recent one about story hydrant and gushing words–wonderful imagery!

  3. It occurs to me that you not only daydreamed, you went a step further and did something to turn your dream into reality. You deserve credit for that. It’s a big, often scary step to take.

  4. Maybe the “scary” part hasn’t caught up with me yet. It felt so right to leave TX and move here–not that there weren’t sad good-byes and angst about what to take along/leave behind. That was all overshadowed by the very real sense of relief. It is a dream come true, being here, and I hope the beginning of the fulfillment of the dream to be a writer.

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