Alanah Winters

Alanah Winters: Compelling fiction

Creating Imagination


On my way to work today my mind started to wander, as it often does when I’m mentally occupied forming a new character for a story. The process seems to always start with one or two characteristics that stick and build on themselves. Like Danielle’s hazel eyes and olive complexion or Nathan’s crooked half-smile and baby blues. Whereas Killian didn’t have a physical form for quite a while, but his conversations would sound in my head and his voice was always crystal clear.

So, I was in the car feeling the emerging character sharing my head space when out of nowhere my attention was redirected towards completely different thoughts. My earlier imaginings overshadowed by a question.

When did I first start making up these “people” in my head?  I mean was there a pinpoint that I’d lost to time of when this became my normal?

All I know for sure, I’ve had this ‘cherished affliction’ way before I had ever picked up a pen or typed on a computer. There were times that I remember making up fictional games to pass the time or to keep myself focused on a task. One example of which was a game show I made up called “Who can clean the house the fastest?”, where the goal of the game was to finish my chores before my fictional competitor could. I played that game a lot longer than I care to admit to.

When I was even younger I remember having a Cabbage Patch Doll I mothered.  At first I was just her mom, but in no time the story got drastically specific. Since I was way too young for a boyfriend and boys had cooties as far as I was concerned, I pretended to be like the Virgin Mary and my baby girl was literally a gift from God. This made perfect sense to me for a whole list of reasons:

1.      God had already sent his son down to earth, so it was only fair for him to make and send his daughter too.

2.      Like I said earlier, boys had cooties. However, no boyfriend or husband was needed when you had God to express mail a kid to you.

3.       It made prayer time at night way more interesting. I felt it was only right for me to be able to ask for the latest baby doll accessories if I was taking care of his pretend baby.

4.      Since she was Jesus’ sister I was able to give her the epic name, Jesustina, but I think my mom thought her name was Justina. (I had a really bad speech impediment growing up.)

That was just some of what I remembered imagining. Who knows what I had forgotten over the years and how young I was when it started. However, I do know of an important happening that had occurred on this day in 1805.

On April 2, 1805 Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odensk, near Copenhagen. He was considered one of the most profound ‘teller of tales’. Many of us were told the ‘watered down versions’ of his stories before bed, like: “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Even though Andersen’s stories weren’t originally spun as warm and fuzzy as they were told to us, the morals behind them were strong. He wrote most of his stories while he traveled through Africa, Europe and Asia Minor.  It goes without saying the cultures and experiences he must’ve been privy to had to help shape his imaginings. Then again, his love of creating seemed to flow through him naturally. I hope I’m blessed enough to sharpen, polish and prefect my craft within myself and through experiences as Hans Christian Andersen did. Well,that’s my end goal, but for now my mind needs to get back to the owner of the icy blue eyes and corn silk colored hair, we have some creating to do… I hope everyone has a beautiful prosperous day in any and everything you all set your minds to!

Click here to read Talking Talkie-Words while Cleaning & Thinking of Paris!