Where I write

Where I write

July 7, 2011

Barbie Taught me to be a Writer

I haven't owned a Barbie doll since I turned 16 and gave away my Barbie l because I was much too mature to ever want to play with dolls again. Instead I wanted to be a grown up and think about important matters such as establishing a career, making car payments, buying a house.

Well, I'm done with being a grownup. I blame my wrinkles on being a grownup, as well as too much time sunbathing. Now I want to play with Barbie again. I spent endless hours as a little girl playing with my Barbie and thanks to her I honed my imagination.  I learned to sit alone in a room and chatter to myself and make up stories which today is what people call writers except they put their chatter on paper. I think Barbie can help me finish my novel, remind me how to pretend again, and not be such a grownup.

 My friend bought me this Barbie the other day because we both decided we want Barbie's life. Check her out! (See above) She is holding her cell phone, ready to call her friends, (there is a photo of her and her friends on the little bookshelf on the right and they all look very stress-free and fun). She has her lap top, a cool drink with a fun straw, a little white kitten and a purple dog. Maybe it's a stuffed animal. Whatever. It's purple and sweet. She has on a cute outfit to match her pink love chaise lounge and there are palm trees swaying outside her window. Has to be California. Granted she is facing a mirror but we all knew Barbie was a little vain.(adds some interesting depth to her character). And, after all, she is Barbie. She is awash in pink. No wonder she has that big smile on her face. She's doing her own thing. I have my main character. And a setting.

If I may digress, one of my best Christmas gifts was a Barbie Dream House. It had a window seat, shag carpet, and a big closet with tiny hangers. It also came with a melon-colored convertible. The Dream House was sold at a yard sale when my father died. I think every house I've lived in since, I wanted to be my very own dream house. I also had a Ken doll that disappeared. He must have taken off in that convertible. Ken always did seem too much of a pretty boy to stick around.  And this is where I learned how to put conflict into my writing. I let a man into Barbie's Dream House, and I spent endless hours having them go through the ups and downs of a relationship. I learned how to devise plot.

Here is Ken today. He looks as if he could be Barbie's brother or cousin. That's one way I could take the story. Nah. Too kinky. Now I'm thinking of a different story angle than happily ever after. She really doesn't need Ken to actually live with her. She can just date Ken, let him bring her flowers to match her dress, and then go back to her adorable pink apartment. If she gets lonely she can hug her purple dog, chat on the phone, or email. But I need conflict. I can introduce Barbie's best friend, Midge, into the picture. I had a Midge, but I cut her hair and then lost her somewhere, too, while being a grownup. Here's Midge today.

She looks like the type that might try to steal Ken away from Barbie, doesn't she? Sneaky. And so there I have a plot twist. I can't just have Barbie living happily in her pink condo. That won't keep the reader's interest. Or mine.  All I have ever learned from writing I have to thank Barbie, Ken and Midge. In the meantime I think I'll keep Barbie safely in her box and look at her now and then be inspired by her way cool life while I have to still be a grownup because until I strike it big with my imagination, if ever, I still have to make the car payment. And if any of you grownups ever wants to come to my house and play Barbies with me just give me a call!


Anonymous said...

Loved this post! Imagination is a wonderful thing. :-)Hmmm... Ken and Midge went missing, I wonder if there was a connection?

Rita A. said...

I still have my first Barbie, Ken, and Skipper. I never could get rid of them and when it came time to pass them on to my daughter I never could do that either. hmmmmm I wonder what that says about me.
As for Ken and Midge...the missing convertable says a lot or does Barbie have a flower garden behind her apartment?

Anonymous said...

I have one word for this . . . Awesome! When I wasn't playing with paper dolls, I was playing with Barbies. I still have most of my old play dolls and collectibles I've compiled over the years. You are never too much of an adult for Barbie - she is timeless and so are those who play with her! I love that she is firing up your creativity!

Just yesterday, I bought a Barbie! I got my hands on the last "Alice" (from Twilight: Eclipse). It was very exciting to get her home and set her next to Bella and Edward!

Anonymous said...

Oh, you don't have to worry about Midge stealing Ken. She's married to a hottie herself. I have my wedding day Midge!


Expostulator said...

I had suggested using paper dolls for working out dialog, but I hadn't thought of using Barbie dolls. Do you think my SO will think me strange if I start?

Susanne Brent said...

Who is Midge married too? This takes the plot in an entire new direction.

And Expostulator we already find you a bit odd so no worries about playing with Barbie.

Jo Bryant said...

What a fantastic post. i never had Barbie - but I have a box full of her and her stuff that belongs to my daughter. I think I might go get her out to play and see if it helps my creative juices to flow. :)

SunsetCindi said...

I want to come and play Barbies, how fun! I don't remember if I had a Barbie, so now would be a good time to start, still have my girls dolls in the dozens of boxes in our old shed, maybe I'll dig them out and play. Your blog is getting more creative every day and I'm loving reading it as I get caught up with AZ life after being gone. My heart is still in Jersey right now but I know it will get back here, it's only been a day. Keep up your delightful pieces.