|Suzanne & her daughters|
When I was little I was more like my children. I remember donning my mother's or even my grandmother's clothes to play 'dress up' - including shoes, jewelry and the like. As a writer, I don't usually go to the extreme of dressing up like my characters, but I had the opportunity this summer to visit a local treasure called Conner Prairie up near Fishers, Indiana. If you are at all interested in history it is worth the trip.
While walking through the Conner homestead (resembling an 1836 prairie town) it hit me how awesome imagination can be. Around every corner was a new opportunity to pretend you lived there and fill the town with crazy neighbors, rugged heroes, and every day challenges. My daughters loved it when I jumped in and dressed up with them in some provided costumes for the photo above, but I realized the truth to be that nothing provided came close to the costuming and conversations I was picturing in my head.
Even in more modern settings, a snatch of conversation can stimulate my mind to manufacture an entire back story for the people I've overheard. And I love it! Even if the stories I make up aren't their 'real' story, I feel this ability makes me more understanding of others ... more compassionate. How can that be a bad thing?
So I don't think I'll ever be done 'playing pretend' - even if I mostly do it in my mind, or on my computer screen via keyboard. And I know that amongst fiction writers I have many kindred spirits. How about it everyone, off to Neverland?