Exploring the Depths of Imagination
Written by Sparky Yoo | Published. 2018.03.31 15:37 | Count : 615

After a recent interview with The Phillipian, our school newspaper, about my writing, I have begun to reflect on my journey as a writer. Creative writing has been an activity, a habit, maybe even a way of life for as long as I can remember. I still remember my first flare of excitement, as I wrote about an adventure through a vegetable land when I was in Kindergarten. Talking carrots, crying mushrooms, and dancing cucumbers filled my imagination, as I sat at my desk. Although I do not quite remember the plot—for maybe there was not any—I do remember the excitement I felt when I gripped my pencil and closed my eyes. Writing granted me the freedom to do anything. In the real world, gravity held me down, but in my writing, I could even fly. 

[Picture 1: Writing as an Exploration of Imagination, https://arts.uottawa.ca/english/undergraduate/creative-writing]

More than a decade later, I still write creative stories. Some days, I sit at my desk for hours typing rapidly. Other days, I read, admiring and learning from the works of writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Italo Calvino, and even Vergil. For instance, I recently learned from an article in my AP Latin class about the way in which Vergil used snake metaphors in The Aeneid Book 2 to create an alternate meaning of rebirth during the destruction of Troy. After carefully reading and rereading his passages, I have been thinking about how to use metaphors in my stories to create new meaning rather than to simply emphasize my existing points.

[Picture 2: Vergil, Roman Poet, http://www.friendsocial.net/virgil-roman-poet/virgil-roman-poet-poems]

Although creative writing and reading have become habitual to me, the recent interview made me think about why I still write creatively. Of course, even after all these years, I am still enthralled by the gravity-defying boundaries of creative writing. Yet, I realized that I have been using writing as a way to grapple with more complex topics and issues in the world. Firstly, from a philosophical perspective, I have begun to question what reality truly consists of. I was inspired from a photography project, in which I dealt with reflections and non-reflections. I began to think about whether our reality is composed of reflections or non-reflections. When we envision our own appearances, we think about the reflection that we see in the mirror every morning. Yet, others see our non-reflected selves. Thus, through a short story—a spinoff of the Greek mythology of Narcissus—I have been reasoning through what reality is. I grappled with the possibility that reality does not exist from a single perspective. I had two characters within the story, which were technically the same person. From opposite sides of the mirror, I had them acting and reacting in relation to one another. I ended the story, having confused the audience about which was the reflection and which was the non-reflection. 

[Picture 3: Story of Narcissus, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology)]

Secondly, from a societal perspective, I have begun analyzing and critiquing social issues. While thinking about our digital culture, I have been wondering how digital and social media have affected our interactions with the world. There are times when I go to concerts, and people are experiencing the performance while recording on their phones. How do such tendencies impact our ability to appreciate and understand our world? In response to this question, I wrote, “Photographic Immortality,” a short story about a man who receives a special camera. Whatever scene he takes a picture of with this camera freezes. Thus, this man goes around, pausing birds in midair and stunting plants from growing. The story details this man’s actions, as he grapples with the idea of permanence versus change. 

Ultimately, creative writing allows me to think through such issues and explore my imagination. It is not only an instrument of entertainment but also one of analysis, critique, and communication. I encourage readers to try it out. Maybe take half an hour every day just writing about anything that comes up in your mind. The rewards can be delightful.



Sparky Yoo 
Phillips Academy

Sparky Yoo  student_reporter@dherald.com

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