Are you imaginative?

Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, and writing ...

Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, and writing …

I get ideas from what I read in the news.  Here’s a perfect example.  I logged on this morning to catch the headlines at and saw this one, “How ‘GOT’ will end,” and immediately clicked through. GOT is Game of Thrones, and I’m addicted to it.  This Sunday is the Season 3 finale, but it was last Sunday’s show that stopped my heart.  The Red Wedding.  Bloody.  Unexpected.  Heartbreaking.

So there was George R.R. Martin, author of the books on which the series is based, talking about the fact that yes, he knows how the books will finally end.  He’s now working his way through writing the sixth book, which is 1500 pages, just like the fifth book, and he still has a seventh book to write before actually reading that end.

How do you do it? Conan O’Brien asked.

Imagination, he said.  He went on to describe growing up in a working class family in Bayonne, New Jersey, and wondering what the rest of the world, which he could not afford to see, was like.

Imagination is my answer, too, when I’m asked how I come up with my plots, only the origin of my imagination is different from Mr. Martin’s.  Mine came from a lonely childhood.  My mother died when I was 8, and I dreamed she hadn’t.  I imagined scenarios whereby she would come back, and they were a comfort.  Oh I did it more – not, mind you, to the point of psychotic delusion, but enough to add a little pleasure in hoping.

From the day I hit college, my life was much, much happier, but for those 10 years before, I honed the craft of imagining.

So George Martin used imagination to escape a narrow world.  I used it to escape a sad world.  But these two examples beg the larger question of what makes a person imaginative?  Is the talent inborn?  Or does life make us that way.

What’s your take on this?  Are you an imaginative person?  If so, why?  Or do you know someone whose imagination comes from an interesting source?  I’d love to hear!

Share this:
Posted in


  1. June Bourgo on June 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I get ideas to write from people I read about and I draw on personal experiences, good and bad (no bad these days). I just finished reading an inspirational story of a woman who was abducted in Columbia at four years of age and then dumped in the jungle. She lived til tenyears old with a family of about thrity monkees. Once she was discovered and back living with humans she longed to be back with her monkey family. Behavior of humans didn’t make sense to her. Her life was hard and she was exploited. I won’t give away anymore in case you wish to read it. This is off topic in a way, but if you are inspired by other’s this will definitely appeal to you. “The girl with no name” by Marina Chapman. The acknowledgement at the end by the ghost writer who helped Marina and her daughter write the story was very interesting from a writer’s perspective.

  2. June Bourgo on June 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Oh…one of the reasons I mentioned the above book was because you asked if I knew of someone whose imagine came from an interesting source. Living with monkees definitely formed a very imaginative personality in Marina Chapman.

  3. Connie Moser on June 7, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I came from a very abusive set of parents to this day they are mentally abusive…and I am an only child and now going to be 52…it’s sad..but I use to have imagery friends all the time…being an only child it is very lonely..then I read my first love story and boy did I dream of having a romantic man in my life…my first husband could of cared less about me…my second one…wow! all those dreams and thoughts have finally come true…so my images have come true…not sure everyone can say this…but I can…not sure how long I will have these dreams finally real but I will take every minute I can have of them! love stories are the best….love ya Barbara! my favorite book u wrote and the name has slipped my mine…but the one that the lady ran away to an island! oh that book was so me!!!! years ago! I so wanted to do that…that book I dreamt of many, many month after I read it!!!!! it was your best to me! hugs

  4. Emilie Richards on June 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

    This is a wonderful insight into the way imagination can “save” us and change our lives and our futures. As a young mom elbow deep in diapers and kids I used to put myself to sleep at night imagining a very different life, usually in another century. I loved mine, but I loved the respite, too. I was convinced that since these fantasies put me to sleep I had none to share that would keep people reading far into the night. Later, my imagination told me otherwise and I began to write them for others. I love that imagination can take us far and wide, away from sad childhoods, or childhoods with few peeks into a different life, or even on vacations from reality.

    • Barbara Delinsky on June 23, 2013 at 9:42 am

      Emilie, this last sentence of yours says it better than I did. I’m so glad we share this appreciation for imagination — along with a wonderful web guy, a history involving VISTA (my husband worked in the South Bronx), and success as writers. We’re blessed to have our readers, aren’t we? I wish you continued success with your wonderful books!

      • Emilie Richards on June 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm

        I had no idea about the VISTA connection. While the Ozarks and the South Bronx were light years apart in so many ways, we probably had more in common than not. Comparing placements would be a fabulous conversation to have someday.

        And to you, Barbara, continued success. Every bit of it is well deserved.

Leave a Comment