“I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.”
― P.G. Wodehouse
From as far back as I can remember, I was a storyteller. Before I learned to write, I told stories to my dolls and stuffed animals. I made up songs and sang to them. They were always entertained, as was I. These were private stores between just me and my dolls, as I never trusted anyone enough to share my stories/songs with them.
My bio-father heard me in my room talking once and walked down the hall to ask me, “Who are you talking to?” He sat down on my bed and I felt his eyes burning into my head.
I was deathly afraid of him, as he was never a kind man, to put it nicely. This was the one and only time in my life he ever showed any interest in me or what I was doing. “My dolls,” I said with a whisper, because my fear always stole my voice, as I stared at the floor.
“Will you tell me what you were saying? Were you singing?”
I just sat there, speechless. Hairs stood on end on the back of my neck and my skin already hurt as I braced myself for what most likely would come next. He got up from the bed, cussed me, and not too loudly, for once, as he walked away. Thank GOD! That was on a good day.
We’d visit my grandparents who lived a state away (where I live now) and they had this awesome magical antique typewriter. Of course, I didn’t know my letters, yet, but when I henpecked those keys, a magical world opened up to me. I realized, one day, I’d be able to write down my stories through a treasure like this. The sound those keys made was sheer bliss. I cannot even describe how beautiful and melodic the music those keys played. Still, it’s one of the most angelic musical instruments I’ve ever heard singing in my ears. I realize it’s not classified as a musical instrument but it should be.
I miss that old Royal. I don’t know what ever happened to it. Mama says we (my brother and I) ruined it by clicking too many of the keys together and they stuck. I have no memory of ever doing this. I loved that typewriter! The instrument was broken and had to be thrown out like garbage. If it were me, I would have buried it like the beloved friend it was. I would have held a funeral service and told it how it would be missed, how much I desperately loved it. I would have wept.
I finally learned how to write and make words and it opened another magical portal in my world. But, my imagination, of course, grew leaps and bounds as I grew older and I’m afraid I was always in trouble at school for daydreaming. Every single one of my report cards carries the words, “Carol is a bright girl, filled with a great imagination. She just needs to stop daydreaming and participate in class.” Yes, I was never really in class. I was creating worlds. I was a super hero, saving kids from certain doom, slaying dragons and battling scary harry monsters that lurked in the night. It was my escape, you see. It was the one place I was safe. Safe from the wretched nearly murderous fingers of my bio-father. Safe from the bruises. Safe from the sleepy boredom of those monotone teachers who lacked inspiration, though I can offer up one or two that were inspired and fueled my imagination. Even encouraged me, believe it or not.
The imagination is an awesome thing, isn’t it? You can fly. You can perform magic. You can create worlds, languages, characters, creatures and situations. The only limit is your own imagination, if you put limits on it.
So tell me, when did you become a writer and/or imagineer?