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.