In Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change, Maxine Greene has a chapter entitled “The Shapes of Childhood Recalled.” I haven’t finished this chapter yet but it has already helped me a great deal.
What I think she is saying is that as children we have a certain kind of a prereflective presence, a unique consciousness that connects us and allows us to create and ” and bring patterns and structures into existence.” As we grow we add more and more layers until we have lost touch with this reflectiveness. We can’t completely return to it, but we can recapture some of the primacy of this experience and percpetion.
She goes on “one of the ways of beginning the reflection that may enable us to create a narrative and to start understanding imagination in our lives is through the recovery of literary experiences that have been significant to us at various times in our lives. The reading of literature may nurture all kinds of understanding of lived structures of meaning.”
Not only that but these experiences shape who we are.
One of the puzzles of my life is where did I get the passions that I have at this point. I love my parents but they didn’t shape me that much into my life as a musician, reader, and lover of the arts. However, my direct contact with literature and ideas has been very formative for me. Could it be that by reading Ibsen, Dylan Thomas, John Berryman (just to name a few) and listening and thinking about Bach as well other connections including walking through art museums, improvising, and listening to all kinds of music, could these things have shaped a narrative that leads me to be who I am now and who I continue to become?
Is this part of the reason that my personal narrative is so embedded in literature, music, poetry, and the theater?
This makes some sense to me. Ever since reading Mortimer J. Adler’s idea that books and great ideas are in conversation with each other, I have endeavored to get into that conversation.
A bit heavy when my emotional terrain right now is (surprisingly enough to me) one of relief that Trump will not be the president of the USA for much longer. Thank goodness for that.
Also a bit heavy for Sunday afternoon.
What I want to do is read and goof off.
In the meantime, it’s good to see that Jordan is doing stuff. Listen to this!