11.05.2008

Thoughts on Hope & Imagination (And Barack Obama)

(Tea cup on the kitchen table in sunlight.)


Hello, dear friends. I'm up early this morning sitting at my kitchen table with a cup of tea as my dear cat, Stella, munches on her breakfast and then stops to rest in the beams of sun pouring in through the living room window. My dear D is still sleeping in the bedroom and the landlords upstairs are also starting their day as sleepy children toddle across the upstairs floor. I'm up early this morning because I woke up with the same feeling I fell asleep with and it merits some attention: Hope. And the attention that it merits is one of my favorites: Imagination.

Yes, as you all now know, Barack Obama won the presidential election last night and that means he's still the president elect this morning--what amazing news! And this is exciting for so many reasons that are too numerous to develop in one post (The first African American President of the United States, a fresh perspective on the economic crisis, the Iraq war, the energy crisis, the health care crisis, not to mention that I'm soon to turn 32 which means most of my life has been under the Republican conservatism of the Bushes or Reagan). Anyway, there's something else I want to address in relation to our new president and it's what excited me about him long ago: Imagination.

Yes, Obama stands for hope and his slogan seems to motivate us to come out in droves to the poling sites around the country: Yes We Can. But what motivates me even further is the hope for imagination. Imagination is one of the most fundamental motivators in my work as an artist and writer and it's the first time in my adult life that I've felt any relationship between hope and the US government. I often come back to this idea in my work: If we cannot imagine a different solution than we cannot create it. This does not mean that I'm solely interested in creating fantasy or fiction, but that I'm interested in creating ideas/ images/ texts that merge our reality with our imagination so we can try to see our reality through a lens of creativity, hope, and new imagining.

This is what excites me the most about our president elect: Imagination. His imagination and also how it creates new imagining in me. The dear poet, Barbara Guest, wrote about the need for imagination in her book, Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing. In the first essay, "Radical Poetics and Conservative Poetry", she writes:

I want to speak about living out of oneself, as this will bring us to the inner kingdom of the imagination. Imagination has its orderly zones. It is not always the great tumultuous sea on which we view a small boat. It can lie behind hedges, hide in boxes, even suffer the touch of exile in a world subsisting on invention...There is no substitute for imagination. Words deprived of their stability--that is if not fed by the imagination--rush around attempting to attach themselves to a surface. They have no stabilized vocation; they become furtive, ready to sell themselves.

And so, I had to sit down this morning, before I start my routine of rushing off to work, to write about this feeling of hope that transpires to imagination with the news of Barack Obama being elected president of the United States. Of course, there will be challenges and disappointments and surprises throughout his term, but there is also hope and imagination and I can't think of two things that feel more necessary in the world today. Hope and imagination--I hope you all will feel inspired and enlivened by both because, my goodness, we need it. Happy Wednesday to you, dear friends and congratulations to the new President Barack Obama.

3 comments:

  1. hope & imagination indeed :) loved reading your words this morning! xxx.

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  2. me too! i woke up this morning and couldn't rush off to work. the dogs and i walked to the cafe and I had a late and a bowl of fruit and I bought the NY Times and the SF Chronicle and sat there and read and smiled and congratulated everyone whose eyes caught mine on our new president.

    congratulations!

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  3. jenifer: so glad you liked my morning words. i just had to write something. such a huge victory! my goodness.

    shauna: hello dear friend! i've missed you around here so it's so nice you came to visit. yes, time to let it soak in and also to share smiles. for certain.

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Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.