Where does a writer’s imagination start? Is it in our pre-birth dreams or playing with toys as a toddler, dreaming up scenarios for our favourite doll’s tea party or carefully positioning plastic farm animals on a worn, patterned carpet. I guess it all depends on the individual. I also guess we’ll never know.

I have this photo of me dressed for a fancy-dress party. It was well before cosplay. I dressed as Superman in a costume sewn by my mother and grandmother. From memory I drew the tracing for the stylised ‘S’ on my chest as they didn’t understand the importance of getting it just right. I held out my cape and, for one fleeting beautiful instant, I thought I could fly.

Whenever it happens, imagination shapes our life; evolving, ever- expanding. Then one day, when our teacher asks us to compose a story about what we did in the holidays and you instinctively realise that ‘Nothing’, just isn’t going to cut it, you call on that imagination.

“Okay, Alan. Let’s hear about your holidays.”

You stand in front of the class, ruled exercise book in hand, you clear your throat politely and you begin. “Well, Miss. It all started when the Time-Ship from the Horsehead Nebula materialised in my back garden … ”

There’s a cartoon by Gary Larson of a classroom full of terrified students and a teacher as a very young Stephen King tells his story. I ‘spose it’s a similar thing.

Yeah. Imagination and dreams of a different life where we control our own creative world.

I love writing and listening to my characters as they talk to me in hushed tones, concerned that others may hear them before I’ve told their unique story. Once finished, they are more than happy to share their adventures with readers. Okay. I’m not a famous writer but whenever I speak to a reader of my novels or see that one of my large-print books in Ballarat or Cardiff or Alabama has been borrowed, I feel blessed. Hopefully they will enjoy it and share my characters’ apprehensions, fear, love and adventures.

Hopefully they will silently thank me for enriching their reality.

And somewhere my younger self will finish his essay about his school holidays then look up at the smiles on his classmates face and smile back.

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