Lately, my writing is getting me fired up. Like a worked up, lathered feeling – almost sexual?! – but in a mental / intellectual way. A spiritual way. Does that even make sense?
I have been doing a lot of world-building in my head for my theoretical novel. An idea that I had in 2009 and hasn’t died – only intensified. I’m inspired and obsessed with writers that can create intense, detailed “other worlds” in their work, and I immerse myself deeply into them. I eat and breathe them. It should be no surprise, then, that I am a huge Game of Thrones fan. I follow fan theories and detailed analyses on the text closely. I want to re-read all the books in the series, and seeing the tall stack of them by my nightstand gets me excited.
A piece of me knows this is what I want to do. Story-crafting, world-building. Reimagining our current world and future worlds. Imagination of the mind… Imagination of the heart.
Earlier this year I listened to a keynote speech given by the head of innovation for Lowes. (Yes, the home improvement big box store – you are as surprised as I am.) He tackled the subject of how exactly do you innovate – how do you see what’s coming? How do you see into the future?
Rather than try and keep up with the pace of culture and trends, and try fruitlessly to get ahead of them, he was creating the future. Literally.
They didn’t want to race the trends, they wanted to create the trends, and here’s how: He hired a team of sci-fi writers and gave them all of Lowe’s marketing materials and told them to go write stories about how the company might look as a part of the future. This is called Science-fiction prototyping.
The sci-fi writers wrote, and in the end their stories were translated into graphic novels and distributed to the company. The result? Lowes began developing two initiatives that no one is or was developing. One is a “holoroom” where homeowners can visualize their home improvement projects before they are finished, the other a customer service robot that greets you at the door and knows its way around the store. You can watch a short Youtube clip to see what I’m talking about HERE.
Science-fiction prototyping. Imagination prototyping.
This really hit me. It really drove home to me, suddenly and deeply, how important it is to be a writer. Writers – and especially science-fiction writers – are actively creating our collective futures. They influence us, propel us forward, and incept more ideas than any other source. Just think about the fact that something like a ‘holodeck’ is really being created, and NASA is working on a warp drive!
Where did those ideas originally come from? Star Trek.
I imagine that perhaps in olden days, in ancient times, the writers were the oracles. Rather than write lengthy stories they would imagine the future and pull “prophecies” from the ether, influencing the collective consciousness. Creative gurus. The masters of our destinies.
After hearing this talk about the sci-fi prototyping, I knew in that one sliver of an instant that I needed to write. That I was meant to write. To influence things and propel them forward. To use imagination integrally in my life. To use imagination to gain access to potential knowledge of the future.
What a heady, weird day that was. I was amazed, flabbergasted and passionate. I couldn’t understand why some of my other co-workers were not as floored as I was – they had listened to the same talk, but I was the only one who felt the ‘THUD’ of a mind-melting realization.
I had been looking so hard, and been so dejected, for many months about what in the world I was passionate about. A book I had been reading asked me the question, and I didn’t know how to answer.
Then this keynote talk just dropped in my lap. Slapped me in the face. Punched me in the gut.
You get what you ask for. You really do. But you have to ask.
My next entry will cover imagination and how I feel it works spiritually. I have found that it is integrally related to my concept of God, and potentially others’ as well.