March Newsletter – Imagining Things in Lockdown

Early Blooms of a Hawthorn
  1. Recent goings-on

Hello! Tomorrow (March 20th) is the start of astronomical Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. Longer days are on the horizon.

  1. For the Misfortune fans

“Cape Misfortune II Agata’s Story” has been out for a month, and people have been positive. My fellow author Henry Mitchell was kind enough to say on his blog, “I read Henry Anderson’s new novel, Cape Misfortune II, in a day. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It was hard to put down, even for dinner. I skipped dessert.”

Paperback and Kindle version are available on Amazon. Meanwhile I’ve just started the third, and probably final, book about Cape Misfortune, provisionally called “The Lost Gods of Misfortune,” or “The Rise of Krampus.”

  1. For the Daydreamers

I’ve been walking in the woods a fair bit this month, thinking about the next piece of writing, imagining things.

The Oxford dictionary defines imagination as “the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.” The word ultimately comes to us from the Latin word “imago”, or image. “Imaginari” meant to “form a mental picture.”

The “mind’s eye” is in the lateral prefrontal cortex of our brain. “Prefrontal synthesis” allows us to combine things, such as objects or images, from parts stored in memory. This allows us to synthesize new mental concepts or images.

The archaeological record tells us art and innovation, the products of imagination, have been central to human development.

Albert Einstein was a fan. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

More poetically William Wordsworth defined imagination as “the means of deep insight and sympathy, the power to conceive and express images removed from normal objective reality”. The Romantics emphasized the healing power of the imagination, because they believed that it allowed people to rise above their troubles and circumstances.

That has some resonance in lockdown. Books lure us to faraway places.

That journey into another world does not necessarily mean total escapism, though. In my opinion the best genre fiction – mystery, fantasy, sci fi or horror – has to be grounded in some kind of reality to fully engage the reader’s imagination. Anyway, as C.S. Lewis once pointed out, ‘escapism’ is only a dirty word to those who are, by instinct, jailers.”

It feels like imagination has been important during the pandemic, particularly in the periods of lockdown! Art, a definite fruit of imagination, is a way of escape – if not transcending the moment, at least of transforming it.

  1. Upcoming events
    Thanks for reading. I wish you long days and pleasant nights.

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