I was checking out one of those ubiquitous lists on the internet. You know. The ones that start off something like “15 Reasons You Don’t Want To _______” (fill in the missing word with just about anything.)
This time, it was “22 Signs a Book Is Taking Over Your Life” (click here for the whole list which opens in another window to read later.)
I mean, my protagonist, Caleb, is modeled after Jake Gyllenhaal, and here’s Jake, being my spokesperson! (If you click on the picture, you’ll see it bigger and in motion but you have to backspace to get back to this page.)
The three of you that are actually reading this probably know that I am a loner. Always have been, Am, Always will be. True, I have my village, and it’s a large-ish village of people who affect my life, with family and friends and neighbors and tourists, but it is also a fact that the village living in my head has far more inhabitants than the one living outside my head.
Hold off calling the men in white coats. I don’t see this as a problem. I mean, today you have virtual stores vs brick and mortar stores. They serve the same functions: you provide them with sustenance, and they provide you with the pleasure of interacting with the outside world without having to leave your hermit-hole. I have my imaginary friends and I have my flesh and bones friends. My corporeal friends know more about my imaginary friends than the other way around, but…my imaginary friends are more similar in personalities to the earthly ones than either of them are aware.
Take that village I mentioned. There are the peripherals, those people I barely know that come and go and don’t usually return. The tourists. I get hints about them but I never know their story for sure. They don’t know each other. Just inside that ring is that group that knows a lot about me and maybe each other. There’s another group that knows most of the others and a lot more about me, but not as much as the central core. This core group are the people that know every other person, and we all share our inner most thoughts, our secrets, our hopes, fears, experiences, amusing anecdotes. In my real life, this is maybe three people.
My imaginary friends accomplish the exact same thing. The difference is that I don’t write down, verbatim, the secrets, experiences, fears, etc., my earthly friends tell me…or do I?
And, let’s be honest here. We all come across people in our lives that piss us off. Some are considered friends, others are just passing acquaintances. I am polite—generally—to these people, but they aren’t my go-to friends. But with imaginary friends and acquaintances in an imaginary village, if they get on my bad side, I can insult them, or make them look like idiots, or toss them out of a scene, or if I really want to get rid of the jerks, I can kill them off in a way which suits me at the time. You just can’t do that with flesh and bones people. Society frowns on such actions. But if you pretend to do it, it’s no holds barred. Why, I could just leave them stranded on one of the planets in my pretend universe or have them torn to shreds and eaten by a purple polka dotted three legged beast with no eyes and no one would be any the wiser since I may or may not write that into the books.
Very cathartic, to say the least.