Are Writers Really Poets and Liars?

Linda2015Many of us in the writing profession take our imaginations for granted. I know I do. I’ve always had it and my thoughts are as much a part of me as the beat of my heart. Without imagination to dream up great scenarios, our stories would be as riveting as a plumber’s manual.


But what really is imagination? Where does it come from? Any thoughts?


Ambrose Bierce an editorialist/journalist and short story writer in the 1800s states, “Imagination, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.”

That certainly fits.  Writers take a kernel of thought and fabricate a story around it with engaging characters and make us believe it definitely could happen.


stack-of-booksDavid Hume, an 18th century Scottish philosopher, became enthralled with human mental activity. He concluded that impressions in our brains are copies of actual things we have seen, felt, heard or read about. According to him we have no original thoughts. For instance – a blind person may know the word blue but he cannot associate it with an image. Therefore, he has no thought of what the color looks like. Same with a deaf person in relation to sound. According to him our ideas are nothing more than copies of impressions.


What! I think that’s a bunch of malarkey. What about Jules Verne’s submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? Or his novel, Paris in the Twentieth Century where he describes subways, gas stations, a fax machine? What about any number of other authors who accurately portray things far before their time?


It makes me wonder about Divine inspiration. I think some ideas defy logic.


Dog ReadingHume did acknowledge that nothing is more free than the human imagination. “Our minds have the power to mix, compound, separate and divide all of our ideas into a variety of fiction and vision.” Now, there you go. I totally agree with that. We have untold avenues of creativity. I fear I’ve only tapped into a small portion of ideas that float around aimlessly in my gray matter, waiting for me to draft them into a story.


I don’t know about you, but all this thinking wears me out. I think I’ll relax and curl up with a generous portion of imagination in a good book.


On second thought, I think I’ll put some of those fat, juicy ideas to work. After all, they’re only soaking up gray matter.


I can lie with the best of them and make readers believe it can happen!


Do you have good imagination? What vivid worlds did you visit as a child? Ever have a make believe friend?


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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

12 thoughts on “Are Writers Really Poets and Liars?”

  1. I have a great imagination… as a kid, I remember playing characters of my fav cartoons with friends… once told them I could talk to leprechauns and had one on my shoulder, LOL… they believed me.

    • Hi Colleen……Thank you for coming. I’m happy to see you. What great memories. Kids have the best imaginations. How funny about the leprechaun! My sister and I used to play paper dolls for hours and hours on end. These were the kind that you had to cut out or punch out from a piece of limber cardboard and came with clothes you also had to cut out. Nothing fancy at all but what fun we had. We fashioned them houses complete with furniture and made up such great stories for them. I do think that’s where my love for storytelling comes from. We also built towns in the dirt with roads and all kinds of things. We had so much fun being kids. No technology or anything. Just our minds to keep us entertained and boy did we love it!

      Have a wonderful day, my friend!

  2. I did as a kid ,i could make up the wildest stories and had ppl believing them,,never had a imaginatory friend but my daughter did,,she talked to her and of course anything that went wrong Lisa was the one who did it ,,not her

    • Hi Vickie……Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you liked my post. Sounds like we could’ve been great playmates. What one of us didn’t think of the other probably could. How funny about your daughter. Those imaginary friends can sure come in handy when things go wrong. LOL! I’m sure Lisa was pretty mischievous. 🙂

      Have a great day, my friend.

  3. You are so right, Sister. As kids, our imaginations ran wild and I don’t think we ever really lost that. We learned to mask it so that society wouldn’t lock us away in a padded cell, but truly I think imagination is the most wonderful and freeing thing we possess. Great food-for-thought blog!

    • Hi Jan……..Great to see you, sister! Glad you came over. I think those years we spent playing together were the best times of my life. Except I couldn’t see it. I was in too much of a hurry to grow up and get out into the world. I also think that time prepared us for the many challenges we faced and are still facing. Just great times. I still remember your doll Doris. We loved playing Mommy as much as we loved anything else. You gave Doris the most hideous haircut. Oh my goodness! It’s strange that I don’t remember my doll’s name. Maybe Martha? Can’t recall.

      Have a good day and we’ll talk later. Love you.

  4. Hi Linda,

    Interesting post! Along the same line, I really think imagination can “bloom” when kids are bored. It makes them have to think up a game or a story or something to do. When my sons would complain about being bored in the summer, I would tell them that’s a good thing and to figure it out. I’d bite my tongue and keep from suggesting anything, just to see what they came up with.

    Of course there were other times I’d direct their “free hours”, but all in all, I think being bored helps free the imagination. This is my own thought– and I’m curious about your take on it.

    • Hi Kathryn……I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Imagination is such a wonderful thing to have. I never had time to get bored so I don’t know if that helps a child use his imagination. My children were never bored either. They all loved to read and they played outside constantly. I guess I was blessed. Now, my grandkids are a different story. But then, they depend on technology to keep them entertained. They always have their nose stuck in some game. Makes me sad. One year for Christmas I bought them all a microscope and tried to get them interested in looking at leaves, bugs and other things. But they never used it.

      Have a great night, my Filly sister!

  5. I have never understood why writing and lying are put together. Because of technology people analyze everything. They no longer even understand what imagination is. It is very sad. My children were never without a book in their hands. They started with cloth books, graduated to board books and the progress from there was phenomenal. When they weren’t reading they were outside with their friends or (on bad days) crafting in the basement or garage. Taking pictures, drawing and painting and doing puzzles (the really big ones).
    Now my children are grown, my grandchildren out to college and I read and craft and fancy cook. Liars are not welcome here! So, no, writers create and I am thankful for them all.

    • Whitney……I’m very sorry if I offended you. I used a poor choice of words. I only meant that writers regularly create characters and stories from thin air and make readers believe they can happen. I’m glad you raised a lot of readers. The world needs readers.

      I hope you forgive me. Have a nice day.

  6. Can’t wait for Brett’s story to come out.

    I have a pretty active imagination. When I was in 5th grade or so, at bedtime, I would tell my younger siblings about my travels with Peter Pan. I have made up stories for myself as long as I can remember. I still have a story going in my head most days. Helps pass the time when I am doing boring chores.

    • Hi Patricia…….Thank you for coming. Wow, what a vivid imagination! Traveling with Peter Pan is very good. I would never have thought of that. 🙂 🙂 You should’ve been a writer. Telling stories to yourself is a sure sign that you have what it takes. I wonder if those pioneer women had stories going in their heads while they did tedious work. I’ll bet they did.


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