Imagination – Going one step into the Unknown
When I started out on this journey as a literary missionary I had no idea what lay ahead. All I wanted to do was to tell my stories. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and a creative mind. As a boy I would build forts out of discarded Christmas trees and dig tunnels in five foot snow drifts. Once, I constructed a raft to float across the flooded yards between mine and my friend’s house after a massive hurricane. I lived in a two-story house overlooking the Delaware River.
From my vantage-point, like Huck Finn, I could watch the mighty ships coming up and down the river. A railroad track also ran behind my house. My brothers and I would lob fist-sized rocks at it.One time I landed one inside a boxcar and an angry hobo shook his fist at me and it got me wondering; where did he come from? Where was he going? The highway that shadowed the curve of the river also beckoned my curiosity with its trucks and cars and things that go.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when at the tender age of seventeen, I found myself headed to a college in the mid-west. This is not to say I didn’t love my family, I did. However, like centrifugal force, the call to the ministry and the yearning to see what was around the next corner pulled me to parts unknown. Cities such as Albuquerque, New Mexico; Dallas, Texas; Orlando, Cocoa, Haines City and Jacksonville, Florida, and finally, Atlanta, Georgia became more than dots on a map. They became places to live, to minister, to shape me into who and what I am today. The people I’d met were more than players in a soap-opera, they were living, breathing, personalities. Their quirks, mannerisms, even the way they combed their hair became part of my color palette, my tools with which I build my rafts, my forts, my tunnels.
Imagination is simply taking what we have experienced and going one step further into the unknown. It is an attempt to guess at what is around the next corner, or what’s behind that closed door, or what tomorrow holds. Add the element of creativity, a modicum of talent, write it down, and run it through the mishmash of criticism and viola, you’ve got a book.
So when people ask me how long I’ve been writing and where I’m from, my answer is rather nebulous. They’re not interested in all the painful experiences which shaped my life. Neither are they interested in knowing all the interesting and colorful people I’ve met along the way. So I keep it simple … and vague, and paint a rosy picture. My imagination is always at work.
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