Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Monday 15 December, 02003


by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:01 am

My friend Richie and i recently lamented the fact that our imaginations appear to have atrophied as we’ve grown older. Stories that used to be gateways to fantastic universes now seem narrow and ordinary. Still, there are things around that fire my imagination. Recently – that huge ship; the Star Princess, the black riders in the LOTR ROTK parade, the Nazgul perched atop the Embassy and Reading cinemas, low cloud/mist hiding the tops of the hills around Upper Hutt.

10 responses to “Imagithon”

  1. david says:

    which richie? I must admit that my imagination is rather empty too. We don’t really have to imaging too much these days as there is too much ‘entertainment’ around that swamps our ‘imagination time’. oh well. I’m also excited about ROTK. That’s going to be a buzz.

  2. dan says:

    From reading the book(s), I’d always imagined the winged steeds of the Nazgul to be more sleeker, streamlined, majestic and less wormy and ungainly. Thats my imagination for you.

  3. kathy says:

    good news is: you can grow your imagination. one good way is hangin out with kids.

  4. david says:

    I have a lot of fun hanging out with my nephews and nieces. The problem is, I think I hinder their imagination cause I trick them so much about things. eg, looking through a kids book and there is a pic of an elephant and I’ll say ‘man thats a big grey potato!’ poor kids.

  5. Haha. David, have you ever read any of the ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic strips? There’s a classic one where Calvin’s Dad attempts to explain to his son how the world turned from black and white in the 60s to colour. I told a brother that… he wasn’t happy when he found out I was lying through my teeth…

    Matt. Your imagination can’t be too bad off: you just used the word ‘atrophied.’ Also, Dad always jokingly said “If you’re worried about not getting into heaven, you’re probably going to get in.” And I think that applies here: If you’re concerned that your imagination is lacking, the fact that you have the ability to recognise you have an ounce of the stuff places you in a lot higher place than many others. You realise you have (sure it may be small, but you have it no less) imagination, and therefore you do.

  6. matt says:

    when i say imagination i don’t mean creativity. i mean the feeling i used to get watching Star Wars. An infinite other universe, history, big factories they must have needed to make those huge grey space ships. Or the longing to leave the seaside and travel that the boy in The Horse and His Boy feels when he looks at the hills. That there is another world, or many other worlds that are as big complex interesting as this one.

  7. dan says:

    I know what you mean. Its kinda like when I used to just go for a drive – I’d always go places I’d never been before – down roads that lead to who-knows-where. But it got to the point where I’d been everywhere, and I knew where each road was going to take me, and I knew that I was bounded by places I’d already been – places I knew.
    The magic was lost. :(

  8. bobthebuilder says:

    matt says “when i say imagination i don’t mean creativity.” i’m not sure i like the distinction—and i’m not sure if i quite understand what distinction you’re trying to make, exactly. are you sort of saying imagination is more passive, spawned by something external, whereas creativity is more active, coming from within? or some other distinction?

    Ravi Zacharias has written a book which I haven’t read, which is on a very interestingly related topic. The book is called Recapture The Wonder and the first chapter is available free online at
    I would like to read the whole book but haven’t.

    the fact that kids have far more imagination than GrownUps tend to seems to say that imagination is something we’re born with, and is subsequently discouraged somehow—i.e. blame the system. In other words, imagination is not learnt, but _lack of imagination_ is. an interesting (children’s?!) story which deals en passant with the idea of repressing the imagination is Momo by Michael Ende. he also wrote The Neverending Story which is famouser and, I get the idea, more directly related to subject at hand, but I’ve never read it.

    maybe i should stop referring you to books I haven’t read…

  9. matt says:

    creativity i would use to refer to me playing trumpet or writing some music on the pc or writing a letter or thinking of something nifty to do.
    imagination i am using to refer to a semi-mystical experience of being in a parallel universe or universes, which, now that i am twenty-four, can be accessed very occasionally. when i was younger it seemed the membrane separating worlds was thinner. it is getting better. perhaps avoiding tv etc helps – fewer distracting interpretations clouding wonder.

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