Monday, December 29, 2008

Me, myself and Imogene Airy

Long story short: After discovering it was made up, publishers cancelled another holocaust memoir. The story prompted a discussion about Stephanie Meyer's books getting pulled from our local Wal-Mart shelves to make room for a new shipment of Spanish dictionaries. (And people wonder why the economy is in the toilet?)

The conversation initiated a visit to Meyer's website. Something Meyer said on her website prompted today's blog topic. (Just in case you're wondering where this topic came from.)

On her site, Meyer mentioned her love for Bella and Edward and the rest of her imaginary friends, and I started thinking about the truth (albeit embarrassing truth) about a fiction writer's relationship to characters.

Without a doubt, I believe many times that relationship can be classified as that of one with an imaginary friend.

Remember having imaginary friends as a child?

Growing up in the sticks, I had no children next door with whom to play, and my sisters never wanted the baby in the family tagging along with them. I developed imaginary friends.

I had two -- Danny and Tracy (No. I was never into The Partridge Family and my obsession with Michael Damian on The Young and the Restless came much, much later in life). When I was four-years-old, I ended up in the emergency room because Danny "tripped me" when we were playing tag in the house. I busted the glass on the door of the grandfather clock . . . still have the seven-stitch scar above my left eyebrow.

I still laugh about my imaginary friends with my cousin and her husband. She had two -- Pong and Ting, Her husband had one -- Grass. (Make of it what you will.) Our imaginary friends provided hours of entertainment, always agreed with us and were the only person our parents couldn't keep us from when we were sent to our rooms.

Think about it...a writer's characters are a lot like that. They talk to you. You talk to them (although in my case, it's rarely an outloud conversation). Their emotions project upon you. You laugh with them, cry with them, feel embarrassed with them, get them into trouble and blame things on them. (Heather and Nick have made me late for so many appointments, I now set my clock 45 minutes ahead just so I can get places on time.) You are the angel/devil sitting on their shoulder telling them what to do. They are the angel/devil sitting on your shoulder telling you what to write.

No one else can see them. No one else can hear them. More often than not, I believe writers are simply grown-up children who want others to introduce others to their imaginary friends.

So, tell me about your imaginary friends. Maybe we'll all get together and have a play date.



Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post...and SOOO true! I can't even begin to tell you the trouble my characters have gotten me into.

Oh, was I supposed to cook dinner to night, dear?

Mom, we're going to be late for carpool if you don't come on now!


But, hey, I would so rather hang out with my characters than do housework any day!

Anonymous said...

LOL. Great post. You know what, I didn't have imaginary friends growing up. Yeah, I'm a freak.

I can relate to the whole "wanting to hang out with my characters" thing blogginexperiments said.

Oh, and I've been late and have forgotten MANY things due to "hanging" with my characters. It's crazy. Since I've started writing, I've become such a scatter brain.

Weird. :-)

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Haha! I agree about the scatterbrain effect. Though it's a decline from the days when I never forgot or messed up *anything* (my job required perfection, which was very stressful), I think a little absent-mindedness is actually more natural for me. I was always daydreaming as a child.

I didn't have imaginary friends. I have a fraternal twin sister, so there was always a real friend there.

gzusfreek said...

OOOO. . .I like what you've written. I had an imaginary friend. To this day, I am teased at family functions to no end! His name was "icky". hee hee. . .once my sister actually named her lizard icky in his honor. I have no clue. . .I do not remember him. :-)

I am not late anywhere (I don't know that's something I'm bragging about -its kind of obsessive/compulsive), but when I have to "unplug" from my fantasy world and get going, it is like pulling away from an Azkaban's Dementor's kiss! Stays with me for hours. . .

Fun Kat!

Sex Mahoney for President said...

I know that I had imaginary friends, because my parents told me a I did; however, my memory is not so good. Anything that happened before a week ago is pretty hazy.

Sex Mahoney for President

Anonymous said...

Actually it was Ting and Pom and I mostly talked to them while on the toilet. Hehe! I think that if there was reincarnation, I was from the Orient in a past life. How on earth do you explain me coming up with those names after all?