Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Note on the Imagination

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A Note on the Imagination

To thrive off the imagination, even if it affords only a dull light at the end of the day, is worth it; or not to thrive, even, but to loosely depend upon, keep the fires of imagining alive, in order that the creative will can live. Imagination keeps me feeling "eternal" even in the face of a possibly not-so-eternal future, because it never demands finality. To keep dreaming, take on a fancy, maintain a vision of sorts--this is the stuff of writing books, or poems, or plays, or anything, perhaps.

Many people desire a "thing"--something that will be bestowed only in a medium of actual exchange (i.e., money); but there is another desire, another set of "things" I believe the creative type desire. They do not necessarily seek the material thing-in-itself (though all artists must eat)... that is, the ecstatic (& sometimes quiet) accumulation of recognition of being alive that resides in something everlasting & metaphysical: a will to create.

So let us ask ourselves, what would it truly feel like to walk upon the earth as though mortal life is but a garment placed loosely about our shoulders?

The imagination is what truly keeps us going. We cannot stomp through life using shields of false intensity to prove we can survive the void. We need to just pursue the void. The exterior void, yes--science, history, even religion--but also the interior void, that which prevents us from focusing on the wholeness that precedes us, was given to us in the moment of our arrival. To live in the moment of this wholeness as we go along means giving up the fantasy of redemptive suffering, and accept, rather, an et cetera of belief (i.e. to just keep believing).

Time makes it known that we inhabit a finite world, but the imagination flirts with such an axiom. Let us gently, carefully, uproot ourselves from our old beliefs by choosing to leave behind the limits of a solely material life. It is possible for us to be both the mediators of the life we are "given" and the mystics of the life we have been mysteriously bestowed?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Adebe DeRango-Adem

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in various North American sources, including Descant, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies and the Toronto Star. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate. Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She is also the co-editor, alongside Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out. She was recommended by current Poet Laureate of Canada George Elliott Clarke as a young black "writer to watch".

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