I have always drawn quite well but I soon grew bored with the ease of accurate draftsmanship. It was an activity that was not exactly "mind numbing" but it was something that stopped requiring actual thought, I was probably hiding from some form of failure since I was pretty much bad at everything else. While it was a good meditation, it was less fulfilling. I found that making photographs I actually liked, was more of a challenge and required significantly more thought and planning.
I have one younger brother, whose grand imagination and mischeif have greatly influenced the work I create today. Growing up in the sticks, we always had to find/make/build something to keep us amused for the day. Creating similar settings for my images is second nature now, the playful thought process is evident, with a touch of adult cynicism.
I find that the company I keep is similar to that of my childhood. We are all a bunch of artist who never want to grow up (in the best way). I continue to try to keep myself surrounded by people who keep running with your thoughts. It is like your imagination is this ball, and where that ball stops is where your friends pick it up and keep it moving.