Showing posts with label imagination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label imagination. Show all posts

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Doctor Who and the Incredible Hulk

By Douglas Clark

I often find myself wondering what would life be like if I made other decisions and choices. It’s not so much that I regret my current state or that I’m unhappy, quite the contrary. For me, imagining the ‘what if’ scenarios that life can/could/does bring keeps me from getting mired in apathy and monotony. When I was young, I wanted to be a writer (duh), a millionaire, a super genius, and world traveler; I also wanted to be Indiana Jones, the Incredible Hulk, Captain Kirk, and a companion of Doctor Who (notice the Sci-Fi slant here?).

So what would have happened if I made different life decisions, and one of those dreams came true? (Obviously, some of those dreams will sadly never come true, so there goes my ride in the TARDIS… L, but I digress). Well I went to college and earned really good grades, so that’s probably the closest to ‘super genius’ I’ll get. I joined the Navy and did see the world, so I’m good there. I’m obviously a writer (still waiting on Random House, Harper Collins, or Simon and Shuster to give me a book deal), and try to keep writing every day. So that just leaves millionaire (guess that will have to wait until one of my books becomes a movie… see I have it all planned out).

It’s the ability to daydream and imagine the ‘what ifs’ that keep my mind fresh and vibrant. Now obviously I keep my focus and do my work, get the job done, etc., but the way I see it is this: If you imagine yourself doing something you really want to do, it’s the first step in making it actually happen. Do you see what I mean? That old saying “The power of positive thinking”, although somewhat cliché, is still true. Imagining yourself in a new job or taking on a challenging task opens the door to the skills and mindset of accomplishing those goals. (However, my boyhood dreams of building a TARDIS might not qualify. If I master Relative Dimensions and that wibbly wobbly timey wimey… stuff, I’ll get back to you)

Imagining each ‘what if’ possibility opens a new door to an entirely different life, vastly different experiences and varied knowledge and skill. Granted many of those ‘lives’ would be similar to the one I’m leading, but the more I let my imagination go free, the greater the variation. Those variations let me be me, only in a different setting. 

When you begin to see yourself living a different life, you can start moving toward that life. Now I’d love to explore the Universe like the Doctor, or command a star ship like Captain Kirk but I know that really isn’t going to happen. Refreshing my imagination with those far flung possibilities stirs up the mental pot and re-energizes me. I use that energy to focus myself and do what I do best, write. 

Where have your choices brought you?    

Thanks for reading. 

Questions and comments are welcome

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Supernova Dream

by Douglas Clark

I wish there was a way to make my dreams come true. I mean an easy way. Doesn't it just seem like everything we want is always hard, involves tons of work, discipline, and determination, and takes so damned long, it makes you wonder why the hell you tried in the first place. When someone says "If it were easy, everyone would do it" or "Nothing worth doing is easy", why is that true?

I think the answer, in a word is Imagination. Life is the way it is. Nothing more, nothing less. But a human's ability to daydream, imagine the 'what ifs' and yearn for something more makes reality that much harder to simply accept. We know that things can be different, we understand that through our decisions, actions, efforts, and aspirations, we can make a difference. 

Without the recognition that we can change the world, we'd all just be worker ants, drones, the type of zombified shadows that drudge through life merely existing and not living. Without ambition and imagination, we would accomplish nothing new, and when we expired, no trace of our uniqueness would remain. 

Power, greatness, immortality, these elements make for great motivators, not just in stories, but in life. We can't have it all, and as mortal beings, we know this. But as imaginative creatures we yearn for that thing just out of reach, just over the horizon, barely possible, so that we can leave our mark on existence.

Dreams are hard because they are up against the cold harsh truth that in our reality, so very little of us remains once we are gone. And while we are here, so very much else drowns out our fragile individuality. 

Our dreams give glimpses of who we are, what we long for, and what we long to leave behind. Like mini supernovas, a dream realized is still a brief flash in the universe that nudges attention toward it, for just a moment. When you realize a dream, you tell the universe, I was here and I mattered. And it listens. 

Go nudge the universe. 

Thanks for reading.
Questions and comments are welcome. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm So Thirsty!

by Douglas Clark

I was struck today by the terrible images of Drought that certain parts of the US and the world are suffering with. For some reason, I'm fascinated by dry lakes and desiccation. Strange perhaps, but fascinating all the same. Perhaps you may or may not be aware of the Aural Sea. Well, it's basically gone. It dried up because of human interference with its water supply. Hard to imagine draining an entire sea, but there you have it; man's capacity for destruction. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not all gloom and doom here. Human kind is capable of great things, but when I see pictures of docks and boats sitting on a dry and dusty plain, my imagination sparks with ideas. Perhaps it's the incongruent nature of ship and desert, or a dock leading to nothing. But my mind is transported to what it was like while the water was drying up. 

What did the people do who relied on that water? 
How did they cope and deal with the loss of the life they knew?
What caused this to happen? 

These are all thoughts that race through my head. 

See, I'll use those images and the thoughts they provoke to find a story. It may be tragic that the Aural Sea is gone, and drought is destroying countless habitats. But if it sparks your imagination to do something about it, that's at least something positive. There is usually a reason behind the catastrophes and disasters of this world. Sometimes they are caused by nature, sometimes caused by man. It's up to you to find the truth and bring some good to the world because of it. 

Thanks for reading.
Questions and comments are welcome.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

More Than Words

By Douglas Clark

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, they are right, but sometimes, a picture can say something better than an entire novel could. In my internet wanderings I’ve come across a few images that have really blown me away. So I thought I’d share a few. Hopefully they will inspire you and ignite a bit of creative imagination in your heart as well.


A visual illusion

The Earth from space

A Russian Lighthouse

An incredible landscape

The sky, on fire

The visually stunning

The phases of the Moon

A fantastic eye

To me, these pictures all represent the strange and mystical, the real and remote, and the raw power of imagination. I find myself staring at them and feeling a sense of wonder. What about you? 

Thanks for reading.
Questions and Comments are welcome.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Focus a Bit...

By Douglas Clark

Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.

A very big challenge for me has always been focus. True at heart, I am a day dreamer. There have been and are multiple scenarios and situations where I find myself being whisked away to a dreamland conjured up from my imagination. It's just fun to get lost in a world of my own creation. 

From a young age, if I were staring out the window of my parents’ car, watching the rain come down, stuck at the dentist’s office, bored at school, etc., I would always find myself creating fantastical narratives for me and my imaginary characters to explore. Now I never got in trouble in school or work for distractions, but I realized a long time ago that even though daydreaming and imaginations are great fodder for creating art, lack of focus can wash away all relevance those daydreams brought.

You see, focus keeps us in line. Focusing on the job at hand, getting things done, and checking things off the ‘to do’ list help you keep an organized life, but if you don’t find time to daydream, that life becomes pretty sterile. I find that sometimes when I get focused on my day-to-day chores and responsibilities, I lose that head in the clouds type mindset that helps me create.  

It took me a long time to realize balancing my life between focused responsibility and daydreaming is vital. I love to daydream and just imagine, but when I apply my focus and determination to expression– that’s when real creativity begins. For a long time I wanted to write a full novel, but it wasn't until I focused my determination and married it with my creativity did I actually finish one. 

Being good at a few, or even just one thing can bring order and meaning into our lives. I’ve often thought about my education and what type of expertise and authority it brings to my opinion about literature and writing. From my experiences and studies I know I don’t know everything, but I know enough to comment and help others improve. It’s more than I could do in a physics class. I’d be totally lost. But the written and spoken word – well I’ve done pretty good for myself learning how to use them both. 

Now obviously I still have a lot to learn. With such a diverse and growing language as English, there’s always more to know. But language is the one thing I know I’m good at, even if sometimes I need a reminder about how much more I need to know about focus. I’m not myopic in the subject matter in which I’d like to learn more, but I narrowed it down considerably from when I was younger.

Learning who you are and what you like is a long process; you change as you grow up and gain experience. Staying focused on what you want and love helps to bring clarity to your actions and direction. If you suffer from a lack of direction or focus, look at the things that are distracting you. The answer to finding focus might be staring you right in the face. Oh, and no matter how many times you get side tracked and distracted, make sure you come back to focusing on your dreams and goals. Sooner or later, staying focused on your mission will become a habit.

Thanks for reading
Questions and comments welcome.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The 15 Minute Daydream

By Douglas Clark

Okay, so finding 10-15 minutes out of my day to just daydream turned out to be a little harder than I thought. But then I realized, I go for a 2 mile run at least twice a week, so I’d do it then. Usually, I listen to my ipod while I run and just zone out. Most of the time I don’t really even pay attention to anything; it makes the run go by faster. This time however, I paid attention to my mind’s wandering. So, in no particular order here are the top five things I found myself being drawn to:

          1. Character development and further plot twists for a  novel I’m about to start
          2. Oddly enough, bagels
          3. Sex (yup, I’m a guy)
          4. The condos being constructed near my apartment (I want one)
          5. Possibly running a marathon, or a half marathon, or just starting with a 5k.

If there were others I didn’t pay enough attention to them for them to register in my memory. What’s funny is that when I started out, I thought allowing myself to daydream would bring me to a fantasy land of magical or sci fi type wonders. Turns out, my mind is currently entrenched in more realistic things. Now that’s not to say if I took more time my thoughts might become more outlandish. Who knows? I’m pretty sure that because I’m older now and required to carry more responsibilities, it weighs me down just a bit when it comes to letting my mind release from all of those things I need to control. Kids seem to possess an infinite reservoir of imagination and creative thinking, mostly because they aren’t encumbered by the pragmatic, somewhat cynical, and harsh realities of life.

I’ve always strived to hold on to that youthful wonder. I think far too often, people let go of dreams and desires and replace them with chores and menial tasks and call it being responsible. I actually think that is kind of depressing. Don’t you? Well, that’s why I let myself daydream. The kid in me has more to say, and I need to listen to him every once in a while. What do you think?

Thanks for reading.
Questions and Comments are welcome.

Friday, February 1, 2013

How Do You Define Personal Success?

What a loaded question huh? I mean success has so many different facets doesn’t it. What category should we explore: financial, romantic, physical, emotional, academic, professional, spiritual? There are so many different types of success it’s hard to qualify a statement like “I’m successful.” It’s probably better to start by asking “Where does success begin?” For me, though, personal success is the most important. I mean, I’d love to be at the top of my professional field, making millions of dollars, after earning my Ph.D., but that won’t all come at once, and it’s certainly a lot of hard work, but would all of that mean anything if my own personal parameters of success weren’t met? Knowing what success means to you is probably the single most important step in actually achieving that success. If you really didn’t know where you were going or why you were pushing so hard for something, even if you achieved that goal, it probably would hold little value, at the very least when you were done, it might feel like a hollow victory.

My guess is even if your dreams and aspirations are vastly different from everyone else’s, if you hold a truly vested interest in what you are doing, you’ll find a whole lot more satisfaction in the endeavor. For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, I bounced, I made odd choices, and I traveled around the world searching for something that would give me fulfillment. What I eventually realized is this. There’s nothing in this world that will fulfill my deepest desires and wants. Fulfillment and contentment come from within. Sorry to get all Zen on you, but if Buddha was here, he might agree with me. Throughout all my travels, my imagination and want for telling stories never diminished, never went away. I always had a story in my head, I always nurtured the desire to write. It wasn’t until I put aside other distractions that I realized writing is not only what I want to do, it’s what I need to do. Interestingly enough, it took me several more years after that realization to seriously commit to writing regardless of publication success. That’s where my personal success began to flourish. When I write, I feel successful, and that makes all the difference to me. In fact, I just received yet another rejection letter for a submission I sent in for consideration. But you know what, I'm good with that, because getting that letter is just confirmation that I'm trying.  

Like I said, personal success is the most important type of success to me. I think if you find that, the other types of success will follow, at least in some small part. Of course, there is no guarantee of reaching financial success because you’ve found your true professional calling. There’s a lot of starving artists and actors out there who are totally happy pursuing their dreams. But on the other side, I’m sure there are a few investment bankers swimming in cash that are just a bit unhappy that they sold their souls for monetary gain. As I’ve said before, finding balance in your life makes things worthwhile; knowing your own definition of success, makes it that much easier. Good luck.

Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is There Life on Mars?

Humans have always been fascinated with the Red Planet. If you’ve been paying attention lately, we’ve sent quite a few spacecraft to the planet. Recent discoveries have revealed startling and amazing results, like the possibility seasonal of liquid water as this article relates. It’s a veritable wonder that on such a seemingly desolate and inhospitable place, the single most important factor to life still exists.

When I was a kid (and even today), space, space flight and the cosmos in general captivated me like no other subject. That’s probably why even now I’m a self-admitted Sci-Fi nerd. I’ll admit it, and I’m not ashamed either. I would soak up every TV show and movie I could get my eyes on; the books too were a source of inspiration and endless imagination. I used to wonder why Sci-Fi and fantasy were such powerful draws to my young mind. At first I just thought that stuff was wicked cool. Then I started to believe it was just because I was kind of dorky and socially awkward. After time went by, I grew up and experienced a lot of things, good and bad, I began to realize something. This realization started to really take shape when I truly committed to writing. Like all forms of imagination, Sci-Fi and Fantasy open up the mind to the infinite vastness of wonder. Those imaginary worlds are full of the astounding ‘what if’ factors in life that allow for amazing and awesome things to occur. Immersing yourself in the imagination frees you from corporeal bonds, social ties, accepted facts, unfortunate mental inhibitions, and fear. When the anchor of social construction is cut, the mind is free to sail upon the ocean of possibility. And when that happens, the universe changes, even if only in your own mind.

So if there's water on Mars, is it such a fantastic leap to think there might be life too? What if there is? How mind altering that would be. Think of it. To go to a place where commone sense tells you there can be no life, and you find it anyway, It makes you think about your own situation. If you are stuck in a mindset that is desolate and barren, perhaps all you have to do is look for something you don't expect. You may find it! In reality, inspiration is always just a thought away. It might even be lurking in the most unexpected places. I suggest getting out there and exploring the cosmos of your mind. There's a universe of wonder in there. Go find it.

Thanks for ready. Comments and questions are welcome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Abandoned places drive the Imagination

I've always had a slightly morbid fascination with old and abandoned things.   Stories like this one are almost irresistible.   There's something about seeing ships, houses, cars, and the like just sitting there, waiting for their oweners to come back, even though we know they never will.  The possibilities about what happened, why the items were abandoned, and the story behind the story is too much for me to pass up. 

People ask me all the time where my ideas come from for my short stories.  Well letting my imagination wander when it comes to lost and abandoned things is a perfect answer.  The possibilities of where a story can go are endless.  There's something about everyday recognizable items seen in such disarray or disrepair that is simultaneously intriguing and distrubing.  That's where the imagination comes into play.  It's not so much that I enjoy seeing abandoned hospitals or haunting ghost ships, but the realization that at any time, the life we know can turn on a dime, disappear and never return is so stark and real.  So true that is, if you've never heard the story of Centralia Pennsylvania, you might want to reconsider just how dramatically life can change.

To be sure, most of the things I've used as an example here are somewhat unsettling.  However, look at the bigger picture here for a moment.  With such turmoil and uncertainty in the world, such things make a great case for seizing the moment.  Waiting another day, or putting things off can only do one thing: Waste time.  Don't let that happen!  You'll only regret it in more ways than one.  Trust me.  Just remember that inspiration and creativity can come from almost anywhere, even an abandoned house!

Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...