Monday, May 02, 2005

Imagination feeds on imagination. It also feeds on frustration, absurdity and stupidity---that's pretty apparent in "Hitchhiker." But our imaginations need stimulus to get engaged, and there needs to be some friendly stimulus in the mix. Having creativity around you, and people receptive to it, open new possibilities of being creative, seeing the world more creatively, and giving you permission to see it differently. To see it perhaps as you really do see it, but can't admit to anyone, including yourself.

For example, I recall the bleakness of the early 1980s. I was back living in my small hometown, working on a book. I wanted the quiet but the isolation went far beyond that. The house where I was living had a large television set that didn't work, and a small one that did. One night around midnight I chanced to find on a public television station the opening episode of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." They ran one episode a week, only late at night.

I may have read the title in the TV listings, but I knew nothing else about it; nothing about Douglas Adams or even Doctor Who (another BBC production, where Adams was story editor for a season.) But I was utterly transfixed. There were two things I found delightfully unbelievable: first, that someone had such imagination, and second, that he was allowed to use it, publicly. Watching the Guide every week, even on that tiny screen, utterly in suspense as to what Deep Thought would discover as the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, was quite important to me.

I felt that again seeing the movie: the adrenalin of imagination, the giddy liberation, and the smirky delight that he'd gotten away with it.

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