“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities."
Gloria Steinam

Some years ago I started writing a novel. And then I stopped. I ran out of ideas or stamina. Probably both. Maybe I just lost belief in myself as a writer.

I called the novel ‘Magic Vera and Her One Card Trick’. It’s the story of a disillusioned middle-aged woman and her unfulfilled childhood dream of becoming a magician. It’s mostly about how we sometimes get stuck in our lives. How we can want things to be different, but not be able to see how to make a change, or even what that change might be.

Alongside all the practical obstacles to big life changes, there is, of course, a huge psychological one. Even if costs can be cut, lifestyles trimmed or restyled, how many of us would still choose to stick with the devil we know - the bad but known, rather than the unknown? But why spend life with a devil at all? And, if there really is no avoiding it, wouldn’t a different devil, at the very least, zhuzh things up a bit?

Which brings me to the imagination and its transformative potential. I’m talking here about the imagination’s capacity to leap great distances – to connect the seemingly unconnectable.

'Leaps of imagination' are often associated with physicists, who need them to connect two very different ideas and discover things they didn’t know they knew. But you don’t have to be good at physics to unleash your imagination, and with a sure-footed running jump, might we not all harness its powers and see where we land?

So what of Magic Vera and her abandoned story? Perhaps what she needs is her own imaginative leap – a way to make a connection between the childhood idea of ‘magic’ she has lost, and another kind of ‘magic’ that might be found, as her adult self, if only she learns to see beyond the life she's fallen into.

And for that to happen, I'm going to need my own leap of imagination - one that connects the 'me' who started writing a novel and then gave up, with a 'me' who actually finishes one AND sends it out to an agent.

And you? Where might your imagination take you?

Improvised storytelling games
online workshop

Sunday 11th October, 7-8pm

Join us for an hour of improvised storytelling games in a supportive environment. Suitable for complete beginners or anyone wanting to brush up their skills. Laughter guaranteed.
£6 (plus small booking fee)

Click here for more info and to book your place.
Improv Saturdays Online

Online sessions in October:
Saturday 17th, 31st
11 to 12.30pm

Email us here to reserve your place.
NEW online course for beginners
starts November 11th
Intro to Improv 5-week course
Wednesdays, 6-7pm - starts 11th November (last class 9th December)
We'll be playing games and learning the basics of improv.

Mel's online improv classes have been the absolute highlight of lockdown. Being a classic introvert, I was worried about feeling exposed or about having to be 'funny on demand'. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Email us here to reserve your place or if you have any questions.
There are also a couple of places available on our Wednesday lunchtime course (12-1pm). Email for more details.
Things we like:
  • Beyond The Ridiculous bring you a live, improvised, online celebration of the human condition, with courageous performers leaping into the limitless possibilities of each moment. The New "Normal": Saturday 10th October, 8pm.
  • Rob Hopkins is inspirational on the power of imagination to change lives and change the world. Get a flavour of his books, talks and podcasts here
  • Lockdown learning: try out these five experiences to broaden your mind at home - fly high with live streams from the International Space Station, or get a surprising book direct to your door. Positive News


In play, we shed the usual restrictions put on our imagination, we refuse “business as usual” and we supercharge our capacity to conjure up mental images of things and ideas that are not yet part of reality. Our imagination becomes a powerful catalyst as it creates alternative worlds for us to explore.
CounterPlay Manifesto

Image credit: Mandy Long
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