Marcus Aurelius: Life and the Imagination

I love quotations, and I found a good one by one of the better emperors of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius. He said: A person’s life is dyed with the color of his imagination—Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180).

I find this an apt quotation for writers, teachers, and the gifted students I instruct. Our imagination truly colors our world.  Just think about it—our imagination is connected to our Muse, to our inventions, our discoveries, and our world view.  I have found in my own creative writing that the better my imagination (my own inner theatre) the richer and more exciting my writing will be.  One web site I found that dealt with imagination said it well: What we imagine with faith and feeling comes into being. Imagination can be nurtured or crushed.

While I don’t want my students to become like Espinosa in Borges’ “The Gospel According to Mark,” about a man with an undirected intelligence, neither do I want their creative, exploratory urges dampened or stifled. Reflecting on this quotation by Marcus Aurelius (and I do intend to read his Twelve Meditations someday) made me realize the importance of my own imagination to my creative writing.  The daily grind of working in our salt mines, the cares and necessities of life, the responsibilities to care for others that we cannot avoid—these demons can drain the energy that imagination must feed upon.