Tutorial: How to grasp the Meaning of Printed Page: Using the Imagination to Fill In the Gaps (6)


In grasping the meaning of printed page, another approach that works is the effective use of the reader's imagination.

But what is imagination?

Stripped of all technicalities, imagination is the ability to clearly visualize causes and effects relations surrounding an event or incident through the use of the reader's inner eyes.

It derives its importance from the fact that there're always gaps in imaginative works.

Or put differently, there're always gaps in nature for which answers must be provided for fuller understanding.

What then is Gap(s) especially as its concerns creative writings?

Gap, first and foremost is a link that's conspicuously absent in the construction of mental realities whether in description, narration, exposition and argumentation which are the four pillars in idea generation and development.

Gaps exist, therefore, in imaginative works as a result of one or a combination of what the author said with 
fewer or insufficient words and what he left unsaid.

What he or she said with fewer words that set in motion our imagination.

Or what he or she left unsaid that must be covered by the lively use of the reader's imagination.

In any case, all creative people use imagination- it is in fact the essence of their work to do so.

Or else they will not be effective.

Novelists, Poets, Dramatists, Engineers, Doctors one way or the other deploy their imaginative abilities to solve new or lingering problems.

For instance, medical personnel reason either from cause to effect or from effect to cause in proffering solutions to many health challenges.

Put more succinctly, they reason from known causes of ailments to the hope for effects which is the cure.

And imagination plays an important role in this without necessarily downplaying experience, expertise and what not.

But the imaginative writer, on the other hand, is nobly taking the readers through a journey of 'understanding the unseen' through the use of words in ways many may not be familiar with.

And they've got the licence to do so.

This more than not leads to gaps in their write ups which the readers must fill up with the use of their imagination.

So, imagination is not like some may take it to mean an idle act of daydreaming that brings no positive impact with it.

It is ability to create and recreate realities and amplify them; and to create new pictures of things in the minds of the readers as well as the hearers.

How does it work?

I think it’s pretty simple and I'm not indulging in oversimplification which is a known barrier in straight thinking.

It involves the reader as a re creative speaker or a go-between being able to connect with the author by feeling what he has felt, seeing what he has seen and hearing sounds which he has heard.

In no other imaginative work, to my mind, is the reader's imagination gets more excited or calls to duty than in this great poem by the Greek poet and Nobel Prize winner, George Seferis, titled 
'Mythistorema', Part IV, from 'Argonauts' as translated by Rex Warner.

This is particularly vivid right from the two magical opening sentences of the poem in which to a narrow extent the poet addresses the Greeks and to a generalized senses all of humanity.

You're bound to encounter several instances in the poem in which the poet trigger our imagination to see things not just literally.

The full text below:

They were good lads, the comrades. They did not grumble
Because of weariness or because of thirst or because of frost,
They had the manner of trees and manner of waves
That accept the wind and the rain,
Accept the night and the sun,
And in the midst of change they do not change,
They were good lads, Day after day with downcast eyes
They used to sweat at the oar,
Breathing rhythmically,
And their blood flushed up to an obedient skin.
There was a time when they sang, with downcast eyes,
When we passed the desert island with Arabian figs,
Towards the setting of the sun, beyond the cape
Of dogs that howl.
If it is to know itself, they used to say,
It is into a soul it must look, they used to say.
And the oars beat on the gold of the sea
In the middle of sunset.
Many the capes we passed, many the islands, the sea
Which brings the other sea, sea-gulls and seals.
There were times when unfortunate women with lamentations
Cried for their children gone,
And others with wild faces looks for Great-Alexander
And glories sunken in the depth of Asia.
We anchored by shores steeped in nocturnal perfumes
Among the singing of birds, waters that left on the hands
The recollection of a great good fortune.
But there was never an end to the journeys.
Their souls became one with the oars and the rowlocks,
With the sever figurehead at the prow,
With the water that fractured the image of their faces.
One after another the comrades died
With downcast eyes. Their oars
Indicates the places where they sleep on the shore.

There is none to remember them, and the word is Justice.
                                               
                                                                'Mythistorema', Part IV, from 'Argonauts'
                                                                                                by George Seferis

                                                                                translated by Rex Warner.

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