Sunday, June 2, 2013

Imaginary Friends (Blogophilia 15.6)

One by one the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The open-hearted many
The broken-hearted few

And those who dance begin to dance
And those who weep begin
Welcome, welcome, cries a voice
Let all my guests come in
From "The Guests"
by Leonard Cohen


When I was little, I had imaginary friends. We'd gather in my room and talk over apples and ginger ale.   I would talk to them and change my voice to have them answer me.  My family thought I was strange.  And, indeed, I was. I had to be strange to navigate the waters of an alcoholic couple who were completely incompatible with each other.  Add to it, four other siblings doing much the same thing, there was always great drama around. So, my friends were my way to escape, and the central "I" stayed back in the control room of my brain to make sure none of them totally took over.

Yes, Dis-associative Disorder (sometimes called "split personality") is something I have always been intimately familiar with.  A few times when I was a teen, I was in therapy about it.  I was angry, fighting type, that was always letting the harder characters take over, when all I wanted was for all of them to live in harmony.  Through some miracle, I got it in my head that it really was my responsibility to reign them in.  And with that, I was able to use them for my benefit, rather than the other way around.

I began journal-ling a bit in college. Soon they began to have their own voices.  The Centaur, Charlie the Office Boy and Yves Milleux became the representatives of emotions, fears and foibles I couldn't handle in my central personality.  And by seeing things in third person, I was able to reconcile a lot of pain and hurt.  And the beauty of being a writers is you can still play with your imaginary friends and have meaningful conversations and nobody (really) thinks you are crazy.

My friends still play with me today.  Whether it is Jerry Goldstein, or Kari Summers or any of the other apparitions that have been in my stories, each of them is a part of me.  They are the guests in the poem.  And always welcomed here.  
 

25 comments:

  1. It would be helpful in writing, and it seems like you have your imagination in a healthy zone, now. Interesting glimpse, and I'm sure it was a hard path to live... -David II

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    1. Looking back on it, I wonder how I survived. On the surface, we looked like a typical Rob Petrie type household. But underneath you had a war damaged father doing his best, amother eaten up in self loathing and regret, and five kids left to make sense of it all.

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  2. Yes, this is me...I can never figure out how to select a profile. I enjoyed reading this! I don't think I had any imaginary friends, but yours sound cool!

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    1. I usually just use my Google one. My facebook one just doesn't come over that well.

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  3. Christopher a wonderful write! Thank you for sharing !

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  4. I can relate on one hand to trying to live in harmony with so many colorful characters.... it sounds almost like something out of a Looney Tunes episode. Sad that you had to go through so much, but what a wonderful thing to tap into those characters as the greater writer you are. 8 points, Earthling!

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    1. I think that's why I like using Eddie Valiant. He has the dirt on everyone.

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  5. I've always felt writing required (at least) a second personality - or at least I used it to develope one. Its interesting to see it the other way

    TM

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    1. And everybody is happy when they all have a voice.

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  6. I also had two imaginary friends when I was a child and everyone thought I was crazy but they kept me company and seemed to listen to me.lol... I think that when I had something to say, no one listened to me and I never had a chance to finish what I was saying when being interrupted so that's where my imaginary friends came into my life.


    Michelle K.

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  7. Never abandon those that helped you through your life, be they imaginary or real, they were a needed replacement for what was lacking in reality. I too, have my friends.
    Blue fool

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    1. I think Kari, especially, is the muse that keeps me going.

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  8. Bravo to you. A strong man. The best therapy is to write.I spend a lot of time with my characters, and of course, they each represent a facet of our personality

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    1. That is how I have come to look at it.

      There are a couple of other voices I haven't had the courage to flesh out, yet. Maybe some day.

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  9. You do realize, if anyone here understands what you are describing, it is me.

    signed: Myke

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  10. Very engaging story. I really enjoyed it.

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  11. You know...I wish I could have had some imaginary friends when i was younger...but all i did was talk to myself a lot. I did a lot of chastising myself and sometimes my mother would knock on the bathroom door (where else t go for privacy?) and ask me..."Who ARE you talking to in there...??? Are you in there with someone?" Mind you...the bathroom was tiny and could barely fit me :-( Enjoyed your write very much! Demme

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    1. "yeah, Ma. Got me a good looking boy in here..."

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  12. I think we all create an alter ego whether others admit it or not.

    ~~DJ

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