Whitlam Institute
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What Matters 2017 Finalist Entries

What Matters? Finalists 2017

2017 What Matters? TAS Year 9/10 Runner Up

Imagination Matters

Kerry Shilcock

Huonville High School

You’re in a dark forest. Leaves rustle from an unheard breeze. Owls, hoot, close, but unseen and rain drops rhythmically to the quiet of the night. Close behind you something moves. You turn around but don’t see it. It continues to move, but all you see is the darkness and the silence. Suddenly something detaches itself from the trunk of a tree. An ageless thing, a shadow from the beginning of creation itself. You turn around and begin to run. And don’t look back. It comes for you. Just when you thought you were safe, when you thought you had escaped it.

It attacks. You scream. You open your eyes.

You wake up in an ocean of unbearably cold sweat.

You let your imagination too loose.

Somewhere in the world a group of four year olds, with all the innocence of the world play pirates and soldiers. Play fighting in their own private world of fun. Unaware of reality.

In a large metropolitan city a teenager heads towards the cinema. Impatiently anticipating, desperately wanting to see the movie they’ve been waiting for. As they walk they imagine what it will be like from the movie trailers they’ve seen. They bury themselves in their imagination.

In a small country town a novelist looks through the window from their two storey house. Laptop in front of them. They are stuck. They need a character. Up the road they see a person walking by. Where everyone else sees track pants and a grey hoody, the novelist sees adventure and heroism. She begins to type.

In a hospital an old man lies in bed, life support keeps him alive. But not for much longer. He knows this. He knows he’s going to die. Just before his heart stops he wonders what death will be like.

Imagination matters.

It lets children play games on other planets. It allows authors to create stories. It leads artists to create things never seen before.

And imagination fuels the progression of the human race. Imagination fuelled the fires for every single invention ever created, from the wheel and the fire, to the lightbulb and aircraft. Imagination burned the ideas of artists and novelists into existence. Imagination built the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. It inspired the Mona Lisa, and the Statue of Liberty. It is responsible for every single dream and nightmare you ever had.

And like all things, imagination dies.

The fire dies. The embers cool and a dark nothingness replaces it. It will never be relit.

There are those that hate imagination because it makes people different. Unique. And to them being different is an abomination. A disease that had to be eradicated. These people yell at their children because they pretend to be something they’re not. They criticise every novel and artwork because they express different, new ideas about the world.

They are wrong. Imagination is what makes us human.

It allows us to create new, wondrous ideas that shape the future of our species.

It allows us to view the world in a way that is unique to us.

It allows us to be free.

You’re in a flowery meadow. With grass so long and green that it reaches your knees, and stains your skin. Birds, bees, butterflies fly past you and you close your eyes, listening, to the sound of pure peace and happiness. Smiling, you open your eyes and run. And don’t look back.

Then you open your eyes. And wake. To a beautiful morning.

You let your imagination loose.

And you can’t wait for the next dream.

Imagination matters.

Jenna Beck