Somewhere in the early going of my learning to write words and sentences, I heard the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
A thousand words seemed a lifetime’s work at the time, plus I was terribly disappointed with the news that a picture could say more than I, apparently, ever would be capable of producing!
However, I also became aware that things to write about were all around me. My coloring books already had been thrust aside as too bland in my new writing world, and my dear Mother provided me with oodles of paper and pencils with which to create the next best, mini-sentence, mini-story I could write.
My first choices of subject matter were animals, since I was fond of them and we had dogs, cows, pigs, and chickens all about the farm.
But the biggest burst of imagination for me revolved around my most cherished possession — a whole miniature Western play town of metal buildings. A Christmas present from the all-knowing Santa Claus, it was a connected line of institutions like a modern strip mall, complete with Saloon, Livery, Hotel, Sheriff’s Office, Seamstress Parlor, Mercantile, and Doctor’s Office.
Plastic horses, cowboys — no Cowgirls included, actually, as we were back in the dark ages of unequal rights –Indians, cows, and wagons and carts, and a stagecoach all were part of the refined Western scene.
I loved that set. It inspired my imagination. From some of Dad’s empty farm grain burlap sacks, I sewed together a desert and plains rug to put the set onto when I played with it. I used green thread to make cactus plants and added rocks and stones from our driveway outside to create rough terrain.
And I wrote Cowboy and Indian sentences. I wrote about horses pulling stagecoaches, and about guys in masks robbing the saloon.
My imagination, the biggest part of a writer’s psyche, had been sparked. But I had miles yet to go!