I had a weird dream the other night. I was sitting in a park with a case of Barbies and playing with them like I did as a girl- though as a girl, I mostly played with my Jamie Sommers/Bionic Woman doll. She was the only doll in the toybox that could kick GI Joe's butt. Then, suddenly a thought struck me...What are you doing playing with dolls...you're forty years old? Well, that woke me up. And as I lay there in bed, staring at the ceiling, it dawned on me—writing is my adult manifestion of playing with dolls.
The situations and storylines may be a bit more sophisticated than they were back then, but the imagination used to fuel those playtime antics is the same.
To me, someone without imagination is not a fully realized person. It's what has made the human race strive to create art, cuisine, technology (no matter the time period), clothing. It's made them explore the farthest oceans, and fly to the stars.
Friends and family members often ask me where I come up with some of the farout ideas that show up in my plots, and I just smile. I was lucky enough to grow up in a time without video games or the internet and had to rely on my own ideas to pass the long summer days. Books would pass the endless Michigan winters, and take me to places I would have otherwise not known about -(Barbara Cartland romances are pretty darn hot when you're ten!) . Both of these activities gave me an early appreciation of creativity and using the mind to create entire worlds.
I still let my imagination run wild, though I can't say I use dolls as a catalyst for my ideas, but I will always be grateful to them for giving me that first push into exploring storylines and plots.