Monday, December 23, 2013

Imagination of Christmases Past, Present, and Future

All stories start in a place far, far away.

A place none of us can go save the one adventurer who braves this shadowy place of magical dreams and elusive characters.

No amount of newfangled medical technology, CT scans, or electrodes attached to the scalp have been able to transfer intangible thoughts, ideas—stories—from inside the brain to another medium so that it can be accessed by another human being.

So, travel with me into the far, distance past as we consider the Imagination of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

Imagination of Christmas Past (in the far—far— distant past)

Thousands of years ago, people longed to tell stories. Their options were limited to oral story telling and chiseling their story onto stone walls using pictures. Charcoal and berry juice, tree bark, even blood (yikes!) was used to enhance stories. Eventually, the written language came into play, and they added words to the pictures.
If there are any fonts that look  like they are
 chiseled in stone, I have never met them.
But the stone and the tough arm look cool! :)

In the far—far— distant past, the medium was hammers, chisels, charcoal, juice/bark for stain, and the writer’s imagination

Imagination of Christmas Past-Present (slightly past, for some of us, but not all…Ahem)

Since we’re talking thousands of years here, there’s not space to list every avenue of communication man has used, so I’ll just try to hit the highlights. Past-present would be before typesetting.

Papyrus? Rice paper? I’m sure the first mother to realize that papyrus scrolls made a great medium to jot down her kids’ naughty and nice list was pretty ecstatic. Do you think she did a Snoopy dance right there on top of an Egyptian pyramid?

Imagination of Christmas Present (like now!)

Let’s consider Christmas present as pretty much anything that is a viable option in this day and age, but would be considered really odd and unwieldy to use for mass production— like transferring a 95,000 word novel from Imagination to a readable format. Good old pen and ink on paper still works, but at some point somebody will have to type that story out onto something with a keyboard/keypad, which would include typewriters, computers, phones, tablets, etc.

Imagination of Christmas Future (use your imagination...if you dare!)

The medium to get stories on to paper has changed astronomically since time began: from using a finger to swipe a four-footed wildebeest onto a cave wall to pounding out a 400,000 word tome into a laptop and shooting off to the printer/ebook fairy.

Now here is where my imagination takes a hike. What does the imagination of Christmas Future look like? The concept of story has not changed in thousands of years.

Imagination is still found in that elusive far, far away place that a writer has to travel to alone, retrieve her story and bring it back. There is nothing, no pen, no paper, no stone, no chisel, no laptop, no brainwave electrode wiring that can pull it out of the brain and dump it on the page like Doppler printouts record pain thresholds.

The first bored cave child who swiped a finger smeared with charcoal across a stone wall, stared at it a second, then made four tiny little swipes and created legs—two more strokes added a head and a tail—would never, ever, ever have dreamed that today humans would be communicating with millions of people at the click of a button.

So, is it any wonder that I have a hard time believing that the Imagination of Christmas Future will include a way to create story out of thin air.

Bah Humbug!

Tell me what you think about the future of a writer's imagination? Will electrodes allow you to write stories in your sleep? Will lasers bore into your eyes and extract your story just by recording the way your eyes twinkle? Will the nerve endings in your fingers just transport your thoughts to a thought-sensitive keyboard? 

Or do you agree with Ebenezer Scrooge when he says, “Bah Humbug! Nothing regarding how story is extracted from that far, far away place will ever, ever change.”

And that, Tiny Tim, is why it is called Imagination.

A Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!

My Winter E-News will be going out soon. 
Subscribers will receive the first ever 
Seeker Sampler
a collection of short stories, excerpts, and poetry
from Seekers Mary Connealy, Sandra Leesmith,
Pam Hillman, and Missy Tippens.

I just finished formatting the pdf for this Sampler,
and I can't wait to show it to you!

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  1. Hi, Pam! Fresh cinnamon rolls to go with Helen's coffee. Really, it matters not to me how the story gets to me...via pen and paper, typeset, etc. but please tell me it won't come through waves...I want to read! Love your post.

  2. Coffee's here to go with the cinnamon rolls!

    The past I can follow. I can't begin to imagine what all will happen in the future. But thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Helen, I'm not so sure about the past either! I've tried to chisel "Once Upon a Time..." into stone for the last three hours without success!

    Obviously, I would not have been a writer 2000 years ago.

  4. I would love for a usb port in my head that would take my writing thoughts and transcribe them somewhere that I can plug in when I go to bed or am in the shower or driving, heck all the time. And I can just think it and it will type my rough draft for me.

  5. Melissa, a USB port! I like! :) I would have been happy if that USB port would have created my Caveman chiseling his story in stone tonight.

    I could SEE it in my head, but couldn't find the right font. And then the software crashed and I lost what I'd done. :( Did it again because I'm just that stubborn. Grrr! lol

  6. I just keep trying to hang On to the near future (under five years) when I'm able to write fulltime. Oh, how I hope that truly happens!

  7. Hi Pam,

    Thanks for sharing.

    Melissa, usb port in my head is very interesting, especially for catching those dreams or thoughts while driving.

    Terri, five years sounds exciting.

    I hope you all have a great Christmas!

  8. I can smell those delicous cinnamon rolls and coffee here in Ga, up early hoping to taste them and wish my friends in Seekerville a "Merry Christmas", Past Christmas is always in my mind remembering the days of my youth and the wonderful white Christmas's we would have, next came the ones living with a husband and two sons and all the fun of Christmas's for kids. I am in my senior years now and Christmas is much smaller and snow in Ga and kids all grown up now. we have quite day and memories galore.
    thanks for the post on past-present and future Christmas...
    I remember the book of Ecclesiastics where it tells us all today has been before and will be again...
    Paula O

  9. I try not to think about the future in writing. It was hard to grasp reading a book on a Kindle and not actually flip pages. But I must say a Kindle is quite handy to take many books with you. Somehow I think if there were buttons to push to create a story out of thin air it would take away the imagination of the writer (and reader).

    Melissa, a USB port in the head? Ouch! The surgery wouldn't be pretty. :) How about a band with electrodes attached that blends in with your hair and does the same thing?

    I pray everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  10. Interesting discussion. :-) I find Melissa's idea of a USB port interesting...and a bit disturbing. I mean how would it distinguish between story thoughts and your other thoughts? Yikes!!!!

  11. I love the allusions to Christmas past, present and yet to come!

    I was staining windows pre-dawn and during the ice storm yesterday morning with "The Muppet Christmas Carol" on in the room. I love that movie SO MUCH! I'm such a little kid! So as I got my pretty windows that had to be re-placed re-stained, I could hear the laments of could-have-beens and the joy of what-ifs going on behind me.

    Joy to the World! Story tellers are as old and ancient as man, himself, and mayhap before????

    We'll check with God on that one.

    And if you want to fire up the sci-fi angle of story telling, try this fascinating article about research thoughts that the universe might be one great, big hologram on God's projector of life:

    <a href="<IS THE UNIVERSE A HOLOGRAM?</a>

    I think some kind of weird sci-fi-fantasy lies in my future, God willing!!!

  12. Giving up.



    I blame you.

    Wait. I forgot the quotes. I will delete that last mad attempt:

    Ach, thwarted by my ineptitude at hot links with LONG URLS....

    Trying again but the thrust has been broken!!!!




    Trying again, I reversed my greater than sign to a less than...

    what on Earth was I thinking????


  13. Okay You all are way too deep for my head which is spinning anyway trying to get ready for Christmas.

    But you all have fun imagining all this stuff. We are writers after all.

    And KAV I am wondering the same thing. As I would love MELISSA"S idea that my story would just type itself as I think it, I have too many other thoughts that would definitely have to be edited out. LOL

  14. PAMMERS, I couldn't get into the sampler.

  15. My KindleFire still amazes me, can't look too much farther ahead ... ;-)

    The USB sounds interesting though, hmmm...

    TERRI, five years will pass in a blink! But just in case, I'll add you to my prayer list, that you to be allowed to write full time in the very near future. :-)

    Thanks, PAM, for this fun post!

  16. Interesting thoughts, Pam! Made me wonder how Moses wrote his books of the Old Testament. What kind of pen and ink did he use? I know God wrote on stone tablets when he gave them the ten commandments, but Moses couldn't have written those OT books that way.
    As for the future, I think the voice things will work much better in the future. Not that I have tried them. You know, where you speak and the computer types the words for you? I don't know what that's called, but since I have arthritis in my fingers and carpal tunnel, I will probably have to use it at some point in my future. I hope it works well! Barbara Cartland kind of did the same thing. She spoke her stories to a secretary who wrote it down in shorthand, then typed it up. :-)

  17. Terri, I hear ya! I'm working from home now and absolutely love it.

    Sometimes time management is an issue because I get bogged down in some menial task and don't know when to quit.

    Prioritizing is critical when working for oneself.

    Maybe the vacuum cleaner motor could create some kind of energy to draw my stories out of my head.


  18. Ohhhh, cinnamon rolls!!! Yum!!!

    I just realized that my 20 yo brought cathead-sized cinnamon rolls home with him last night. His girlfriend works at a cute little coffee shop/bakery.

    There all gone and I'm raiding the kitchen! :)

  19. Jackie, but we'd want to have full control of what we downloaded (or uploaded, depending on your perspective) through our USB port.

    Can you imagine all of our thoughts being uploaded automatically to some future Mind-Blowing Blog by hackers!!!

    Takes the act of setting up a webcam in your home and recording every second of your life.


  20. Paula O, what wonderful memories! I remember writing my first stories long-hand when I was in school.

    I never actually attempted to write a novel on a typewriter. By the time I graduated college, had a couple of kids, and decided to pursue my writing dreams, I already had a computer.

    Maybe writing long-hand would have been easier?

    I know chiseling it in stone certainly isn't!!! lol

  21. I think pen and paper will be around as long as man is around!!

    Merry Christmas, Seekerville.

  22. Ah ha, Cindy wants a cute headband with lots of bling. Maybe it will light up with red and green flashing lights when a great idea swooshes through your head! :)

  23. I know, Kav. I'm a bit worried about that USB port as well. We'll have to work on that the logistics of that one, won't we?

  24. Okay, the black holes and quantum physics is blowing my mind.

    I think I'll stick with Melissa's USB port! lol

  25. Sandra, the Seeker Sampler is a free pdf for those who subscribe to my newsletter at

    I'll be sending out a newsletter within the next few days and the link to access it will be in the newsletter.

  26. Melanie, I forgot about Dragon Naturally Speaking. That's one of the voice recognition software programs.

    And, I remember reading that about Barbara Cartland. Seemed so... diva'ish, you know? But hey, maybe she was much more productive that way!

  27. Well, nothing makes me hungrier for a cinnamon roll than thinking of it as a CAT HEAD, Pammy.

    I once wrote a blog post about archaeologist interpreting cave drawings.

    It was pretty darned funny if I do say so myself.

    I might wait a while but maybe later in the day I'll post it, about Nazi symbols and lizards doing the hokey pokey and how a lot of college professors with too much time on their hands and a grant they need to fulfill and a paper they need to publish is forcing them to write SOMETHING, no matter how dumb.

    Of course that has nothing to do with US, right?

  28. Well, for heaven's sakes, if PAMMY can post links that take us away from her own blog, then I don't know why I can't, right?
    Petroglyphs--stone age graffit

  29. That should read Stone Age Graffiti but wow, those live links are a lot of work.

    I've got to figure out an easier way to do that.

  30. And now, My Cowboy made chili and I'm going to go eat.

    btw, it is FREEZING COLD.

    sniffle...I'm so tired of being cold.


  31. Wow, Mary, lizards doing the hokey pokey sounds like fun!

    Do you think I can get a grant to study the future of an author's creativity?

    Worth a shot, I'm sure...

  32. Mary, loved your Petroglyphs post on Petticoats and Pistols.

    That one does look a LOT like an alligator... Really weird...

  33. I'm with the Dragon, voice to screen concept for my future writing process. I tend to talk to myself through scenes, being both characters anyway - why not get that on the screen and revise away? More often than not, I run through those "conversations" more than once and in my mind, they do get better.

    But you can't go wrong with the old standby technology of the Primary Emergency Network Computer Interface Liason device...
    Standby Tech: P.E.N.C.I.L.

  34. erm, the above standby device can also be known as Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).

    whichever definition catches your fancy...

  35. How fun, Pam! You know, I sure wish there was something that would take down my dreams so I don't have to try to remember them in the morning. Of course, I'd probably end up looking like a crazy person. LOL

    Merry Christmas, everyone! My family starts arriving in a couple of hours, so I won't be around much the rest of the week. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

  36. Ooooo, Pammy ... I like the idea of nerve endings in my fingers transporting my thoughts to a thought-sensitive keyboard?


    Fun post with a Dickens' Christmas twist, and as quickly as ebooks have changed publication, I cannot IMAGINE what's up next for writers!!

    TINA SAID: "I think pen and paper will be around as long as man is around!!"

    LOL ... especially if there's a power outage ... ;)



  37. I was thinking more along the lines of what future inventions might there be so readers who are challenged for physical reasons might be able to enjoy the written word ... and then there was Melanie's post about having arthritis, which makes typing difficult. What a shame it would be to allow that type of thing to keep good stories from reaching readers. Inventors, get busy!

    Nancy C

  38. Oh, DebH, I love this! :)

    Primary Emergency Network Computer Interface Liason.

    I've been wrapping presents today. Got my spreadsheet list completed so I know what my last Wal Mart run will look like.

    I hear The Cowboy coming down the drive. Wonder if he'll brave the big, bad WM with me tonight?

  39. Thank you, Pam, for the interesting post. I'm somewhat technology challenged so the simpler the better for any new devices on the horizon. Thankfully, hubby is a techi and helps me out of many jams. But I'm for any device that will assist those with physical limitations. Friend who was a writer had a stroke and can no longer read the printed page. But with advanced software on her computer can have e-mails read to her and even compose her messages and have them read back before sending. Otherwise she'd be very much isolated. Signed up for your newsletter. Thank you. I'll look for the Seeker Sampler.
    Merry Christmas to All.

  40. Past, present and future...way too much to think about, LOL!

    I'm with Tina, pen and paper will be around a long time, but typing makes it go just that much faster.

    You can take away my computer and whatever else the future might invent, but don't take away my typewriter keys!!

    BTW Pammy, that is one spooky thought about hackers hacking into my brain-waves...

  41. howdy all. missed you. I was in hospital for the weekend with gall stones, now if you have never had them you dont want them believe me!
    yes you lose weight but its not a nice way to do it.

    you know when you talk about the future I wonder if it may not end up that we end up going back to the past and using a pen and paper or pen and machine again.

    got to dizzy trying to read comments I need to go back to bed again.
    I guess Christmas is going to come regardless of if i am ready or not so why not embrace it!

    wishing everyone a Blessed Christmas and please someone eat my share of candies, chocolates and cookies (someones already eating my share of dinner)

  42. Missy, sometimes dreams make perfect sense while we're in them, but when we wake up, we just remember enough to know it was the perfect dream! lol

    Julie, we will definitely lobby for editing. :)

  43. Missy, sometimes dreams make perfect sense while we're in them, but when we wake up, we just remember enough to know it was the perfect dream! lol

    Julie, we will definitely lobby for editing. :)

  44. Nancy, at least they already have the voice recognition software and I've heard that Dragon is pretty good.

    I'm not sure how it would do with my Southern accent though.

    Pat Jeanne, I have a friend who is in a similar situation. She has just enough mobility (one finger, literally) to change the channels on her TV, click the buttons on Kindle, and has recently started using a Android tablet.

    She uses a pyramid pillow with velcro on the back of her Kindle and tablet to keep them from sliding off into the floor. She also has a clipboard with velcro hot-glued to it with her tv remote and a cell phone that's connected to her tablet. At least I think it is.

    We've definitely had to think outside the box to give her as much freedom and entertainment as she can manage.

  45. Jenny, you just let Christmas come! Don't worry about gifts, cooking, and decorating. We're just glad you're feeling better.

    We've had a few years in our family when sickness and family members in the hospital took precedence over the hustle and bustle of the normal routine.

    God bless you, friend. Praying you continue to improve day by day.