The Noble Pun

It’s about freeing our imagination to leap from one idea to the next to the next, even when those leaps seem illogical or impossible. And it is precisely that capacity to link wildly disparate ideas that enabled people, through thousands of generations of trial and error, to move from cave to skyscraper to space station, and from drum to telegraph to iPhone.

In a way, the pun was humanity’s first hyperlink, a way to identify and articulate potential connections that aren’t necessarily or immediately apparent. Punning was and remains a way to sling a verbal rope, in an instant, across vast conceptual canyons. It is this same urge to imagine, explore and establish new connections that fuels creativity generally, and science specifically. Not that puns are a substitute for reason, but neither is reason a substitute for imagination. If imagination didn’t exist, what cause would reason have to set out on a given journey, to prove or disprove a given proposition? Puns reveal a mind free to roam frontiers of possibility, without shame or fear of being wrong.

— John Pollack, The Son Also Rises, p. 143

Breaking Through the Ceiling

What if that which we dream of being is actually God’s will for us? What if we are the ones who hold back, setting an arbitrary limit on what God’s power in our life will be? What if we are the ones who decide “this is too good to be true”? What if we turn back God’s gifts over and over and over again? It is possible that this is the case.

Most of us do not believe that the sky is the limit. Instead, we have a ceiling that we set, which is the height we think of as God’s will for us. Do we consult God when we set this ceiling? No, we ordinarily do not. We set it with the help of parents and friends, well-meaning spouses and therapists. We try to set our ceiling at a “reasonable” height. We do not want to get our hopes up and have them dashed. We fear being too big for our britches, and so we define as grandiose many plans that may be well within our grasp with the help of God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 138-139

Colorful and Exciting

What if we believe in a benevolent and expansive force? What if we consider the idea that our dreams come from God and that God has the power to accomplish them? What if our “grandiose” schemes are actually God’s will for us? What if God’s will is expansive and colorful and exciting? What if turning our will and our life over to God is an invitation to adventure and not to drudgery? What if God is for us and not against us?

For most of us, it is radical to consider the idea of a God that is actually on our side. We hope, at best, for a God who will turn a blind eye to our strivings and not nip them in the bud. We tend to think that if we call God’s attention to our adventures and agendas, God will disapprove. We think of God as a spoilsport, a wet blanket. We ignore the evidence of the natural world that plainly shows us an exuberant intelligence committed to diversity.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 137

God’s Story

But this is no fairy tale. Naturally, given that the story involves real people, it’s messy. Also, since it involves God, you get the sense that the story is not so much about how to simply clean up the mess, but how creative you can get with the mess you have. This is what God seems to be up to — creating good, mysterious things out of messes.

— Curt Thompson, M.D., Anatomy of the Soul, p. 141

Of the Race of the Singers

It is nature’s decree that all youths and maidens shall, for a period, be it long or short, become aware that they too are of the race of the singers, and, in the journey of their life, at least pass through the zone of song. Some of them recognize it as the region of truth, and continue to believe in it still when it seems to have vanished from around them; others scoff as it disappears, and curse themselves for dupes.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 178

An Allelujia Chorus

Being with real people who warm us, who endorse and exalt our creativity, is essential to the flow of creative life. Otherwise we freeze. Nurture is a chorus of voices both from within and without that notices the state of a woman’s being, takes care to encourage it, and if necessary, gives comfort as well. I’m not certain how many friends one needs, but definitely one or two who think your gift, whatever it may be, is pan de cielo, the bread of heaven. Every woman is entitled to an Allelujia Chorus.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 348

Allowing Creativity

A woman must be careful not to allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 333