When I'm, playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales. I scratch my head with the lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder.
- Life on the Mississippi
AI image created by R. Kent Rasmussen
You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.
Against a diseased imagination demonstration goes for nothing.
You can find in a text whatever you bring, if you will stand between
it and the mirror of your imagination. You may not see your ears, but
they will be there.
The human imagination is much more capable than it gets credit for. This
is why Niagara is always a disappointment when one sees it for the first
time. One's imagination has long ago built a Niagara to which this one
is a poor dribbling thing. The ocean "with its waves running mountain
high" is always a disappointment at first sight; the imagination
has constructed real mountains, whereas these when swelling at their very
biggest and highest are not imposing. The Taj is a disappointment though
people are ashamed to confess it. God will be a disappointment to most
of us, at first. I wish I could see the Niagaras and Tajs which the human
imagination has constructed, why then, bless you, I should see Atlantics
pouring down out of the sky over cloud ranges, and I should see Tajs of
a form so gracious and a spiritual expression so divine and altogether
so sublime and so lovely and worshipful that--well--St. Peter's, Vesuvius,
Heaven, Hell, everything that is much described is bound to be a disappointment
at first experience.
Now, isn't imagination a precious thing? It peoples the earth with all
manner of wonders, strange beasts and birds, angels, cherubim and seraphim.
And it has to be exercised. No child should be permitted to grow up without
exercise for imagination. It enriches life for him. It makes things wonderful
"A Surprise Party to Mark Twain by His Characters"
From 1915 advertisement for Author's National Edition of Mark Twain's Works.
From the Dave Thomson collection.
Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search