Since settling into my “adult” room in my “big girl house” I’ve acquired a beautiful collection of porcelain-faced dolls. They make me feel like I’m in the middle of a Victorian Tea Party all the time, which brings me a lot of joy as I’m surrounded by so much charm and beauty. My little world wasn’t always organized like an antique store window but one thing that has always been consistent is that dolls have always been a part of my life. They not only bring out a maternal instinct to the little girls that love them but, to this little girl, they brought on an entire lifetime driven by the desire to write. Playing as a child, I didn’t even realize I was writing. But I was, and in fact, “play” was the beginning of my becoming aware of my greatest passion.
There are many different forms of writing and certainly numerous brands of artistic expression. For me, the greatest was always playing with dolls. Sometimes I’d play with a friend but typically I enjoyed playing alone because I was free to make up a complicated story, without anyone thinking it was "strange." I named each of my dolls, and created a world for them to live in, a setting I referred to as “Dolltown.” There were the heroines, those characters I featured most prominently in my stories, and many side-characters, as I had a large number of dolls and wanted to include them all. I would “play” for hours and I liked to speak aloud, reciting each character’s dialogue and creating new stories every time, all of which took place within the same small universe. I loved it – it was my favorite thing to do!
When I was 9 years old, my parents bought me a beautiful wooden doll house. I already had two dollhouses – one store-bought and one homemade, made from a cardboard box, which my mother and I crafted together, using ideas from a book about how to make your own dollhouse. The wooden house needed to be assembled and my parents not only assembled the house but painted it, and lined the walls with wallpaper samples, making it feel real. The furniture that went inside was just as lovely but what came out of it was even more exciting—the beginning of a small world, as my dolls had three places to live and travel between. Stories became even more frequent as my imagination was driven to new heights. I called it “playing.” But, I had found my greatest passion.
Eventually, I stopped playing with dolls. I got older, became involved with more activities, a more complicated degree of schoolwork and I began to feel silly, doing something that I saw as being intended for children and children alone. But my love of telling stories never died and when I finally wrote my first manuscript shortly after college graduation I realized what I had not until then been able to define, that I am a writer, through and through and that the activity I’d always labelled as "playing" was actually "storytelling." I’d been telling stories my whole life. And with the discipline of an adult I learned to write them down, instead of telling them aloud and forgetting what I’d created. A new passion was born, one which required a new level of practice and persistence that I was eager to begin. My dolls had given me my start. And so, to them, I will be forever grateful!
Join me, and an amazing group of romance authors, this Saturday at the Jersey Girl Brewery!