15 empathy1

Writing is often an act of stepping outside of one’s self. The skin we inhabit is not our own; we live in many rooms. The best writers, the ones that show us something familiar in a new way, that transport us from ourselves to something else, that cause us to experience sensation with linguistic sleight of hand, are also the most empathetic.

What is the imagination?


Is it important to have a good imagination? Or is it, as at first glance we might be inclined to think, perhaps a little trifling, maybe something important for children but not very necessary for adults? I guess that depends on what the imagination is. I fairly recently came across a very interesting definition of the imagination while listening to an interview of Stephen Prickett discussing George MacDonald, an influential Scottish writer of fantasy (and other genres) in the Victorian period, who had a particularly profound influence on C. S. Lewis. Lewis, in fact, described his initial encounter with MacDonald’s imaginative work as a conversion or baptism of his own imagination; “It did nothing to my intellect nor (at that time) to my conscience. Their turn came far later… The quality which had enchanted me in his imaginative works turned out to be the quality of the real universe, the divine, magical, terrifying, and ecstatic reality in which we all live”