Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who wouldn't want a never-ending supply of Reese's Cups?

When I was a kid, I had what I guess you could call a rich inner life. I made up stories and scenarios in my head, pretty much all the time. There were scenes and dialogues and crazy adventures. Sometimes I was myself, but I was usually a character. This was in addition to playing pretend with my friends and cousins. Even when they weren't around, I was making stuff up. I did it at home, at school, even (maybe especially) at church.

I would also come up with imaginary scenarios about my house or school. I never pretended that I was a princess whose real family would come looking for her. Instead, I imagined secret passageways and hidden rooms. Once I concocted an underground room that extended from my basement bedroom under the neighbor's driveway, and decided it was full of snacks. Rows upon rows of candy bars and cookies and all the stuff I usually had to save up my allowance to buy. What? I was eleven! Even as an adult, I daydream sometimes about finding secrets. When we moved into our house, I was mightily disappointed that our attic contained only some crusty linoleum scraps and a dusty artificial Christmas tree.

Looking back, I have to wonder if that kind of imaginary exercise prepared me to be a writer. My process for writing fiction in high school and college wasn't all that different from the play-pretend I used to do as a kid, really. To my chagrin, I don't really write fiction anymore. Maybe I should start by imagining some secret tunnels or something?

How about you guys? Did you have any favorite for-pretend things when you were little? (Or not so little)

Reading:  Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Playing:  Only by the Night by Kings of Leon


  1. I used to make up big elaborate stories in my head about this unicorn...heh

  2. I know exactly what you're talking about. Sometimes I couldn't fall asleep because I wasn't finished with my adventures! One of my very favorite things to pretend was that our woods was inhabited by dinosaurs :)

    MacGyver found a hidden closet in the north bedroom Saturday, there was a hanger and a Betty Page postcard inside.

  3. I've always had a tendency to take a story already written (or a movie) and imagine an additional storyline with the main characters and me (though not actually me, a cooler, braver me) as a side character. I *still* do it. And I don't want to stop. I guess you could say I've always been attempting to create my own fanfictions, though without writing them down. I like to think I have a rich imagination, but so many times the real world runs my mind down to the point that I don't have the energy to power the imagination machine. else I'd finish a story someday.

  4. Did and do. I'm not sure it made me a better writer, but it definitely makes living in the 'real world' harder!

  5. my brain never stops running, so when i need something semi-calming to run in there instead of worrying about things, i've got some stuff to go to. i'm writing 6 books, and also designing a house (which has secret passages, btw), all inside my head. i also wrote a movie once, but i've lost interest in that particular project.

  6. I had ELABORATE stories involving pencils. Yes, pencils. I would finish my schoolwork, set two folders up around me, and act out little worlds with pencils.

    I also had elaborate dreams and fantasties about Fred and Daphne from Scooby Doo being married and the type of life they had.

    Yes, I really did.

  7. I did a lot of play-acting where I was Marilyn Monroe and my friend was Elizabeth Taylor. We didn't know anything about them except they were movie stars but we were being them in "real life" - down to earth style.

    so, as those characters, then we would create mystery theatre for ourselves. Whatever third friend was unlucky enough to join us got to be the detective.

    I love the idea (above) of creating worlds out of pencils.