Exporting Imagination

My daughter tells me that she’s having trouble “exporting imagination.” It’s a strange verb to use. I imagine the country of her incredible brain needing to ship all that imagination out of some port. Otherwise, it’s all clogged up in there, swirling about.

Something’s in there, and it’s gotta get out.

She tells me that being a teenager is hard because imaginative play with dolls and toys does, unfortunately, begins to lose its appeal. “I need a new way to export all that imagination that’s still in there but can’t express itself the same way.”

All the imagination still in there? We need to built a port of export! 

We think about this for a good long time. We talk about designing something; we talk about visual arts; we talk about novel writing; we talk about handcrafts; we talk about photography; we talk about baking.

It’s so exciting to think about all the ways one might export imagination. We ended up exploring the art of thread crocheting to make very delicate and beautiful things. I imagine so many snowflakes and little creatures born from that tiny crochet hook.

The crochet hook: a port of export.

Afterwards, I remember that I, too, have an imaginative self inside that needs a port of export. I think about baking and writing. I think about home design and fashion. I think about new lesson plans, new family albums, and new poems to write.

Maybe I’ll pick up the guitar again.

Maybe I’ll take a dance class.

So many ports of exports, so little time. And finally, I remember to listen to the heart cry of teenagers around me who sense it all so much more deeply, so much more intensely. If she says something needs to get out, then she’s absolutely right.


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