“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan
Follow the Yellow Brick Road — I never shall forget the impact that watching that movie had on me, when I was a child. I was young–it was probably about 1957; and I was probably about 7 years old. We only had a black and white television–yet, that movie still resounded deeply within my little, 7-year-old being. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” has become my mantra–because that is the road to life.
In many ways, my dad instilled me with the gift of imagination and fantasy. I always felt that he also followed The Yellow Brick Road. The Wizard of Oz was released as a movie the year that he graduated from high school. My dad himself was the snake oil seller who drove around in the gypsy wagon in the movie. He was the dad who pulled pennies out of everyone’s ears and made magical scarves dance in the air. Abracadabra — Poof! That was my dad. [He died this past February of 2013 at the age of 92].
As I watched The Wizard of Oz movie with my dad, he didn’t actually say why he had allowed me to stay up late with him to capture what I did. Nothing was really said; but I knew that my Dad got it. He understood and appreciated the need for magic in life. That is probably the greatest gift I ever received.
My Dad and I are both filled with the Spirit of the Gypsy, the magician, and the believer in Wonder.
Another memory that enriches my life: When I was a child, my dad led the family out on many expeditions, roaming through the forests and fields around us, looking for wild mushrooms and other edibles. We ground acorns and made flour for bread. We gathered milkweed blossoms and dipped them in batter for deep fat frying–and then sprinkled them with powdered sugar. We made lemonade from Wild Sumac.
My heart still roams through those fields and forests of my childhood. The forests are still filled with the Spirit of the Imagination for me.
My dad, as was his mother, and I also share the NEED to garden. Because I live on the East Coast, between Atlantic City and Ocean City, NJ], I am far removed from the forests that fill my soul. I have become older, too, and it has become more and more difficult for me to even find the Yellow Brick Road, much less follow it. My garden is my effort to create my own Walden Pond around myself. I think that was also true of my dad.
Last, but certainly not least, my Dad actually studied cartooning professionally. He was never recognized for his cartoons–not on a national level; but EVERYONE mentioned at his funeral the fact that his barbershop walls were always covered with his cartoons–and how his walls of cartoons affected their lives. I have taught art for over 40 years; and while I was teaching in schools was even named National Teacher of the Year. My teaching is my barbershop gallery, where I can reach out to others–primarily young people–and extend to them some of the magic that my dad planted within me.
My Dad was a Comedian, a Clown, a Magician, a Wanderer, and a Wonderer — and anyone who knows me would have to agree that these words pretty much describe me, too.
Once again, I thank my dad for the Gift of Imagination. Imagination is the Key to actual living–rather than existing.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincolon
Today I am launching my 30-day fast track to becoming the artist within program. Everyone who follows this post will be rewarded with a tip each day that will help them find their own muses, develop them, train them, and become.
Step number 1 – Cultivate your imagination: Follow the Yellow Brick Road
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein