"Imagination is better than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work." This quote is the end of a poem, "Yes! No!" from the very lovely little book of Poems and Essays by Mary Oliver Such serendipitous things happen, I think, partly because I try to follow her advice and pay attention. Some of that paying attention is acting on impulse, which is a matter of paying attention to some not-quite-verbal inner impulse.
In her well known poem, "The Summer Day" she told us she knew how to pay attention and proved it in a few lines describing a grasshopper. Here she offers another thought to ponder: I believe "imagination is better than a sharp instrument" but, at the same time, I believe we must use our logic as a sharp instrument to cut through some of the inanities that imagination run rampant comes up with. Imagination is an instrument of all our needs and neuroses as well as a conglomerater of all that we have paid attention to. The latter function is a tool of wonderful poets like Oliver and of all find writers, especially novels. But we need that sharp instrument when we consider the products of our imagination.
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