The Way This Crazy Thing Began
My mother tells me I had begun to create stories for my dolls and stuffed animals by the time I was three or four years old. She says she sometimes thought that I’d somehow snuck a friend into the house, because I used different voices and tones for the characters I’d invented. Their lives mostly played out on the floor at the foot of my bed, and when I got tired, I often left them scattered about.
One night, Mommy had repeatedly reminded me to “Put those toys away!” Of course, I did not put my precious little people away, but there were consequences. Sometime in the night, I (thought) I woke, sensing activity in my room. I eased to the foot of the bed and peeked over the footboard. The dolls were moving! Walking! Running! Rushing the bed!
I have only vague memories of this dream. My mother says I called out, and when she came in to see about me, I was frantically crawling from one side of the bed to the other, terrified.
You’d think I never wanted to play with dolls again, wouldn’t’ you? Wrong. Not only did I continue to be fascinated by what my imagination could make come true, I somewhere—somehow—got the urge to make my own characters. I started making dolls. And I started to write the stories I made up. One day, perhaps I will finally have the nerve to illustrate my own work, like the Christmas book I’ve been writing and drawing for a few years.
In the meantime, of course, I will be writing books and stories for children and adults, too. I’ve realized that when I write a novel, I’m not limited to creating characters. I create families, neighborhoods, and even new worlds.
Adapted from my upcoming book, Character Studies
© 2013 by Denise Lewis Patrick.
COMING IN APRIL!
–School Library Journal