I recently read an interesting article on how creating an imaginary friend can make you a better writer. Kelly Kautz claims that one top advertising agency even gave its imaginary friends their own office space. For real!
Without peeking at the answer, how do you suppose imaginary friends
can help us to become better writers and artists?
Their presence can either make or break us, depending on how far we’re willing to go to hang out with them. It may be wise to spend quality time together, but I wouldn’t recommend paying a visit to their homes…
My old imaginary friend, Monique, was much more exciting than my ordinary, colorless classmates. She’d moved to the U.S. from Paris, France.
I spoke often of her to my parents and even picked out a house in which I thought she might live. It was a fuchsia, shingled house on the edge of town with haystacks in the front yard. Quite picturesque to a child’s eyes, and most unique.
As my family was riding down that stretch of road one day I pointed out the place and said, “That’s where Monique lives.” My dad corrected me. “Can’t be. That’s Sam Hinnant’s house.”
Sam was an old man who helped my daddy on the farm, and who spent a chunk of his pay on booze. “Oh, well then maybe they moved,” I said.
While my creative energies were at their peak, I decided I might as well go all out and paint as farfetched a scene as possible, so I chose the career of an astronaut for Monique’s father.
They moved from the fuchsia, shingled house bordering the city limits into the heart of town. Her family had now taken up residence in an old, two-story bungalow complete with a forever-bright green lawn.
One Saturday I announced that Monique had invited me over to play that afternoon. And so my dad dropped me off at the house I’d chosen for my imaginary friend.
I walked up to the porch, then turned and waved him off, and pretended to go inside. As soon as the sky-blue Ford turned the corner and was out of sight I headed aimlessly down the street.
That afternoon I walked all over town, hoping to see someone I knew. Someone real. I ventured into Mr. Elijah’s TV store and noticed that several stations were on simultaneously, but not one show was interesting enough to capture my attention.
It was, after all, Saturday afternoon and no programming was geared toward kids that time of day – it was all about the adults. Sports programming, fishing, cooking, and wildlife shows... nothing worth anyone’s time of day as far as I was concerned.
I meandered out of the shop and down the street again, then headed back to the stranger’s house that supposedly belonged to Monique and waited for my daddy to come and pick me up.
It was almost dark when he arrived, that gloaming time of day when streetlights magically appear out of nowhere to illuminate sidewalks and cast long shadows. My mother was sitting in the passenger seat, apparently on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
As soon as I climbed into the back seat I knew I was in the deepest water ever. Mary Lou Cuddington from church had called my mother earlier and reported that she had seen me from out of the picture window in her living room, wandering around their neighborhood like some vagrant.
How could I have possibly known that Mary Lou Cuddington lived right across the street from Monique?
So, who was your imaginary friend?
How can imaginary friends can help us creatively?