Do you see what I see?

In the Globe and Mail not long ago there were pictures of two women who were so similar, they could have been the same person. At first glance, my overactive imagination leapt to the conclusion that they were. I envisioned a woman with a double life, maybe even two families, a female version of Jack Lyons in The Pilot’s Wife.

Subsequent investigation proved me wrong, as so often happens when my imagination takes over. The women’s similarity in appearance and the fact that the memorial notices were published on the same day was a simple coincidence.

Still, there may be a novel in what I thought I saw. One more idea for my File of Possible Plots. An advantage of having a healthy imagination is that this file is almost always overflowing. It’s well furnished with romantic, dramatic, and comic perspectives on things that were quite ordinary in real time. Hoof beats? It has to be zebras.

A disadvantage of an overactive imagination is the unproductive distortion of reality. It can cultivate fears when there is nothing to be fearful about. As quickly as I can imagine success, I can imagine failure. This makes it necessary to choose which vision I keep alive. What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. (Plutarch)

When my imagination seizes a common and everyday event and embellishes it to be extraordinary, it’s decision time. Do I let it run loose or do I muzzle it?

Is your imagination a double-edged sword? Does it drive your creativity on one hand and discourage it on the other? How do you harness it for the maximum benefit?

Zebra picture from Wikimedia Commons: A zebra by Lunkwill

Memorial pictures from the Globe and Mail newspaper, Saturday March 19, 2016