In the past few weeks I have seen two films that have really fired my imagination, they were “Dr. Strange” and “Arrival”. For the past twenty years I have been teaching a lecture/seminar on the conjunction of art, faith and imagination. I have presented this at various festivals, schools and churches around the country.
Being an adult, and I use that term loosely, who is a Christian I believe that the greatest gift that God has given man is to be found in what is commonly termed the Incarnation. For me the second greatest gift is imagination and this gift I treasure very highly, it has gotten me through many, many rough times. My mom died just after my seventh birthday and my dad wasn’t the most sympathetic person that I have ever known. As an adult I now understand that he was dealing with his grief in his own way.
For me, to comfort myself I dove headlong into a world of books, movies and television. Now you must understand during the mid-50’s a Saturday morning matinee consisted of a few cartoons, a chapter of a serial or two and an opening full length film plus the main feature followed by the opening film a second time all for the price of 25 cents. In Brooklyn where I grew up there were seven or eight movie theaters within walking distance of my home. So, from the age of seven onward I would spend every Saturday at one of these movie houses. Oh how my imagination was fed by a veritable feast of film. I would also spend a lot of time in the front room of my maternal grandfather’s apartment surrounded by books which I constantly devoured. Honestly as an adult just a few weeks shy of turning 67 I have never seen a valid reason to come out of that world of imagination and wonder.
As far as music was concerned I can remember wandering around Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn with a transistor radio against my ear listening to guys like Alan Freed or Bruce Morrow waiting for them to play one of the two first songs that really made me nuts about pop music. They were “Mack The Knife” by Bobby Darin and “Little Darlin'” by The Diamonds. Then the British Invasion hit and all I wanted to do was to share with my friends the music I was hearing. Right now having been able to play music on the radio for the past almost 48 years I still feel that same thrill as when my friends and I would gather around a juke box at the local candy store and put in a quarter for three song choices. I find these days that I am very selective about what I listen to or play on the radio as well as what I spend my time reading. I guess that you could very easily say I have become quite a media snob.
Long Island, NY is not specifically known as a hotbed of imaginative creativity and so I am constantly searching for the latest and best in the creative arts to feed my mind, heart and soul. Luckily for me there is just so, so very much out there to feast on. My friend, British bass guitarist Steve Lawson of creating some of the most imaginative music that I have ever heard. There is also a band called “The Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus” who each time I hear them are totally feeding my imagination. As I have said before there is so much to discover out there, don’t settle for second best. By the way I just found out earlier this week that 2017 brings us the first volume in a new Stephen Lawhead trilogy.