As long as I can remember, I loved to exercise my imagination. I have a cousin that I was best friends with growing up. One of our favorite things to do was to draw pictures together of characters and things we would make up. We would play our make believe games. A lot these related to the ideas we invented in our drawings.
Our grandparents had a dark and dreary unfinished basement with all these interesting nooks and crannies, and "secret passage ways".† This basement would become our lair, dungeon, secret laboratory, cave, hide out for the bad guys we shoot, time warp into the future, you name it.
Another thing that captivated our imaginations was a family retreat where we would spend time in the moutains. My grandpa and later my dad both bought cabin properties next to one another in a bueatiful area covered with evergreens and foliage that acted as a great playground and continues to do so today to the new generation.
Then when I turned eight, my family moved to San Antonio, Texas. For summer breaks, my family would visit our relatives back in Utah including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (including the one I mentioned earlier). During long trips in the family van from Texas to Utah and back that were never ending to a child, I began to scribble down stories in a spiral bound notebook. This was much more welcome to my parents than the whole, "Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet, he's touching me, are we there yet, she won't stop poking me, are we there yet..."
I have to laugh at some of the first things I've written. These stories were off the wall, all over the place, and pretty much the sort of stuff that only an eight year old could come up with. For instance, there's a creature whose brain was visible through a glass covering and the only way he could be killed was with a pink donut shape thing. Amazing. My writing has grown a lot since then in maturity. Now I reached the point where I actually pulled off a complete and polished work in which I couldn't be more thrilled.