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"Life" says the Imp, scratching its chin with one gnarly finger, “is like a box of chocolates”
“So you never know whatchu gonna get?” I offer.
It was quiet in the park. I am still a tad breathless from my run. I am sitting on the bench enjoying the view of the lake in the spring sunshine when the Imp shows up. Thankfully there is no one else around. There is an old couple sitting by the lakeside too far away to notice me talking to myself. For you see, the Imp only manifests to me, choosing to stay invisible to others.
Pandemonium Grenvillard Woodimp arrived over a year ago, unannounced, unbidden and unwelcome. Despite my initial panic that I was going slowly mad (still could be, dear reader) I have learnt to accept its ways.
Cute or Astute?
“I don’t get it.” continues the Imp, knitting its hands behind its head and leaning back on the bench casually. From where I am sitting it looks like a mutant pretzel with orange icing.
“What don’t you get?” I take a sip from my PowerAde bottle.
“Even a child knows that a box of chocolates is clearly labelled, each chocolate identifiable by its shape, design or wrapping as to what flavour or filling it is. So if you don’t know what you are going to get, either you’re ignoring the instructions or failing to learn from the past experience”
“It’s a cute quote.” I say in defence, “not worthy of such dissection. Just leave it be.”
The Imp tuts. He likes tutting. He has various tuts for various exasperations. He's the King Tut of tuts.
“This is the problem with you humans. You let cuteness impede your logic systems.”
I see a sparrow fly down and land in front of the Imp, cock its head and chirp, chirp away.
The Imp leans forward and starts chirping in a very sparrow like lingo.
I watch as they have a conversation. I have a feeling that the sparrow and the Imp are talking about me as he starts to nod his head in my direction and the sparrow looks at me, chirps some more and then, I kid you not, tuts, before flying off.
The Imp makes a sound like a low rumble of a farmhouse tractor. I suspect it is the beginning of a laugh.
“Are you making fun of me with a sparrow?” It’s hard to disguise the annoyance in my voice.
“The Passer Domesticus, dear Docmo, is an astute and social bird. We were merely sharing our observations on humanity.”
“Talking about observations, “I hit back, “what on earth are you wearing?” I point to the orange lycra shorts and the tight sweat shirt that has some strange logo on it. The Imp looks like a monkey dressed by a demented organ grinder.
He stands up and does a twirl like a prima donna. “Nice no? It’s a new range of sportswear from the 5th dimension. Glows in the dark, kind to the skin, breathable and looks after my important bits so well. It’s called ‘Imp Balance’”
I wince at the thought of Imp bits. “Please…”
“This is the problem with you humans. You let cuteness impede your logic systems.”— P.G.Woodimp
Hocus, Pocus or Focus?
We both watch silently as a lithe figure runs past. There is something soul stirring about the sight of an athletic female running by. My heart runs behind.
The Imp kisses its thumb and forefinger and blows in the air.” Bellissimo”
“Delicious distractions aside, dear boy, I am back to discuss your existential crisis.” He starts walking in the general direction of the lake. A gentle breeze brushes me, carrying the smells and sounds of the lake.
“What crisis would that be, PG?” I walk along as he scuttles by in his dayglo orange sports get up.
We reach a bench by the lakeside. The evening sun plays on the ripples, creating waves of light. The old couple have drifted off. We only have a few ducks for company. I am glad the Imp doesn’t start quacking to the Anas Platyrhynchos Domesticus as it did to Passer Domesticus.
The Imp, as always seem to read my mind.”Unlike the sparrow, dear boy, the Duck is not an insightful conversationalist. I do like them though. Preferably crispy with plum sauce.” It makes a smacking noise with its rubbery lips.“Back to your problems. It's our old friend, the self -doubt. It seems never to leave your side"
He seems to have the ability to reach inside my head like a magician and pluck out a thought rabbit that I never knew was there. " I am not sure what you are alluding to."
" 'Course you do. I am talking about your disturbed sleep and constant self-critique"
"Isn't self critique a good thing. Isn't that what keeps us on our toes, striving to better ourselves?"
The Imp shakes his head and tuts again. " Imps are secure in the knowledge of their superiority. We don't dwell in self-doubt and other such thoughts that drain life energy."
I sigh. "Surely there are moments when you aren't sure if your direction of travel is the right one?"
"Sure. If Imps get that thought they sit down at the cross roads, reflect, review and revise their direction of travel if needed.. They don't carry on walking with a heavy heart and a confused mind."
He seems to have the ability to reach inside my head like a magician and pluck out a thought rabbit that I never knew was there.
Prodigious PolymathsClick thumbnail to view full-size
An Emphasis on Synthesis?
I watch the lake turn from yellow to orange and then to red. The Imp has a point. Frivolities aside,he has an almost Freudian insight into the inner workings of the human mind.
"You are right. I shouldn't walk around carrying my burden. I should reflect."
"Reflect away, dear boy. That's why I am here. Come, tell papa Imp what troublesome gnat flies in your cranium?"
"I think I lack focus. I have not stuck to one theme and developed it to mastery. I flit an flee with my varied interests. I am like a bee with a flower commitment issue."
The Imp scratches its chin. It was hard to say where the chin ended and the neck started but apparently in Imp world it is an aesthetically pleasing physiognomy.
"Why does this bother you?" The Imp says.
" During the Renaissance the pursuit of diverse themes was considered a positive trait in a person. Look at Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton and Franklin, they handled multiple interests in science, art, literature, music and many more. However, the modern world frowns on diverse interests, it somehow seems to imply lack of focus. Many are chastised if they spread their interests too wide and are asked to focus on developing one. The 'specialists' in the respective fields are deeply suspicious and sometimes even resentful of those who dare to cross over " I say.
" Ok. Does the pursuit of varied subjects at whatever level give you pleasure?"
"Yes. oh yes."
"Has it hampered your progress in life?"
"On the contrary . I feel it has improves my chances, opens my eyes and widens my world"
"Do you think you are not an 'expert' in one area?"
"Maybe. I am not sure. "
The Imp taps me on the shoulder and nods. " I know what you are."
"Yes I do."
"Then Tell me."
The world needs specialists with their focus, the monomaths with their devotion to discover new depths in knowledge. Equally the world needs those with a wider gaze. Creative generalists who can cross fertilize across divides. Who can wonder and wander, leap and link, synthesize and summarize, mix and match, experience and empathize."
Witty or Pity?
The Imp stands up and stretches. The neon orange athletic Imp wear pulls at odd angles. There are several beats of silence.
"I know what you're going to tell me." I blurt.
"Oh you do, do you?"
"Go on then."
"You're going to tell me I am a smug, self satisfied, talentless scribbler."
" Maybe thats what you tell yourself. Try something different."
"Were you going to tell me that I am a generalist whose passion and pleasure lies in variety"
The Imp winks. "Are we just talking variety in arts and sciences or in other aspects too? Would you like me to take you to Pleasure Planet? The ultimate night spot in all dimensions. You'll never come back. "
The Imp crosses its arms and takes a deep breath. "The world needs specialists with their focus, the monomaths with their devotion to discover new depths in knowledge. Equally the world needs those with a wider gaze. Creative generalists who can cross fertilize across divides. Who can wonder and wander, leap and link, synthesize and summarize, mix and match, experience and empathize."
A Specialist Generalist?
"Wow. Did you just come up with that?"
"No. You should read the wonderful blog, 'The Creative Generalist' by Steve Hardy. Its right up your alley. He dedicates his entire reflections to the subject of creative generalism."
"Thanks. I will have a look."
My mind feels clearer. When specialists get too close to the trees, we need generalists to keep an eye on the forest. I specialize in generalism!
"C'mon Forrest, lets run." says the Imp.
I stand up feeling exhilarated. I am not alone in this world of generalism. These pages are full of kindred spirits. Wonderers and wanderers, leapers and linkers, sympathisers and synthesisers, experiencers and emphathisers, mixers and matchers.
That's why we all congregate here in this wonderful creative space.
I know I belong.
I know I am with friends.
I start running, feeling like an Icarus with redesigned wings (with correction factors for water and sun) . I believe I can fly.
For now, however, I choose to run. Behind this wise Imp.
The Imp races ahead, then stops and adjusts its shorts.
"There is a disturbance in my force. An imbalance in the Imp balance."
"Take your hand out, you dirty Imp."
Some things never change.
The Imp returns in Fifty shades of Imp
© 2012 Mohan Kumar