Monday, November 29, 2010

Imaginary Friends

Being an only child encouraged me to use my imagination. For awhile, I had an identical twin sister inspired by the Patty Duke Show. My parents laughed and humored me.

I played for hours on end with Ginny dolls, making up stories. They'd go to school, get scolded for not doing their homework, and have fun with their baby sister, Jeanette.

Hmm, maybe all this pretend stuff has something to do with writing fiction. I might not have written down these tall tales, but they sure entertained me.

Now, I converse with characters in my books. I'll be in bed and suddenly see them in one scrape or another. Their anguish breaks my heart, and I must find a way to rescue them from the shadowy enemies bent on destroying them.

When you were a kid, did you have imaginary playmates? Did you line your teddy bears up and teach school? I'd love to hear about it. I hope I'm not the only writer, who started off this way.


32 comments:

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Oh, yes! I had more than one imaginary character. In case I got tired of playing with one, I could move onto the next. Or we'd all have conversations together.

I'd even read books and then have those characters as imaginary friends, too. I think it's a great way to develop characters and expand our imaginations.

quietspirit said...

Susan:
Of course, I had an imaginary friend. Like you, I am an only child.(I grew to dislike that phrase and the thoughts people had about us.) My mother once told a coworker that I was "well-loved".
I even imagined conversations with my friends at school and Brownies.

Carla Gade said...

Hi Susan,
I had imaginary friends at times, mostly "characters" needed to fill a role, like when playing house or school or whatever. I also had teddy bear pupils! I had ;) a very vivid imagination and the best part of it all was the storytelling as I played and acted out my imaginings. Of course, I'd try to get my real playmates to get on board (I was usually the orchestrator of such playing). I also had an imaginary family of "egg people" that I pretended every time I sat in the bathtub and got my hair washed and held the washcloth over my eyes when I was around 5 or so. Escaping into another realm I suppose, which I still love to do!!

I think a writers imagination must be inborn.

kristen said...

Yes, I had imaginary friends. Mostly I would take characters from books and they would be my friends. Girls from the American Girls series, or Anne of Green Gables. These were mostly in my middle school years because I was a lonely girl with only a few friends. Tough years, but Felicity, Molly, Samantha and Anne got me through. Sad but true!

I love the Patty Duke Show!! It makes me laugh:)

Karen Lange said...

I don't know if this qualifies as imaginary friends, but I remember playing out scenes in my head. I'd continue tv programs or books...now I realize that it was part of my writer's brain...
Blessings,
Karen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

Oh good, I'm not the only one!

I guess we still have imaginary friends. Childhood play is often preparation for our future roles.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cecelia -

Ah, yes, all the lovely sayings declaring we were "spoiled" irritated me too. I much prefer your mother's description.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carla -

So funny! When I could get someone engaged in my pretend world, it was pure bliss.

I agree that imagination is necessary equipment for the writer. While others use their imagination in various areas (inventing, acting, etc.), we put our stories on paper.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Aw, I can relate to your sadness.
Few would believe it now, but I was also shy/lonely. I gravitated toward imaginary play and read tons of books.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Sure it qualifies! You were dreaming up stories.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

No, I didn't, but sometimes I wish I did!

Maria I. Morgan said...

My brother and I had countless adventures with our stuffed monkeys. We'd conjure up plots that would take us half the day to dream up - we'd set up elaborate props, then begin playing. We even put together scrape books of houses (that the monkeys owned!)with pictures of living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms cut from numerous magazines. We both had vivid imaginations! We certainly entertained ourselves for hours!!

Have a beautiful week! Hugs & God bless! :)

Jean Fischer said...

Susan, I had an imaginary sister inspired by the Patty Duke Show, too! As an only child, my best friends were stuffed animals. One Thanksgiving, I hauled them all in front of the TV to watch the Macy's parade. I brought all of them because I didn't want anybody to feel left out.
Fun post!

Blessings.
Jean

sarah said...

I never thought of conversing with my characters. What a great idea. And yes I did have imaginary friends...one in particular...a street light. Goofy as that sounds....I believed that light was always green for me...

Rhonda Schrock said...

I can't remember any particular "friend," but I do remember sitting my friends in a circle and entertaining them with scary stories.

Now, I get to entertain a much larger circle. And sometimes that's pretty scary! :)

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I didn't have an imaginary friend because I had a real twin sister, which was one of the great blessings of my childhood. She and I are still close. But we were able to make up imaginary worlds with each other, and so we still had the fun of pretending.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Your dolls had a baby sister named Jeanette? OH my gosh!!! That was prophetic, don't you think?

I had a friend named Gary that I blamed all my trouble on. "Gary did it" was my favorite excuse for a messy room, unmade bed, and undone chores.

I miss him. Now there's no one to blame but my little sister Jeanette. Oh, that's me!

Nancy said...

I didn't know that Ginny had a little sister, or did you make her up?

I can just see you playing with your dolls and making things up.
I did the same with my huge family of dolls and even with paper dolls. They always went to church and school.

I played school all the time with the siliest things I could get my hands on. Thanks for the memories.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

LOL! I'm sure you had other creative outlets.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Maria -

How nice to have a cooperative brother! I guess he didn't mind since they were monkeys and not dolls. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

Isn't it funny how certain TV shows have an influence on us? It's also sobering when you think what's on TV these days.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sara -

Many authors use this technique to get under their character's skin. Others use personality profiles.

One of my cousin's children would always "blow out" the red traffic lights.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I can understand why you held their attention. You have a great way of engaging your readers.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rosslyn -

You had a real twin? Awesome! I've heard some twins have their own language. Did you invent a new language for your imaginary worlds?

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

LOL! I was thinking of you when I wrote this post.

Mom and I went to a doll show not long ago. We picked up one of those freebie magazines. They had an entire spread on Ginny's baby sister, Jeanette.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

No, I didn't invent Jeanette. She was the baby sister of the Ginny doll line. I had a snowsuit, dresses, pajamas, a crib, and other accessories for her.

I also loved paper dolls. My mother and grandmother spent hours cutting them out.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jill Kemerer said...

All of my stuffed animals had to sleep with me or one would feel left out! They were so important to me!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

I was more of a doll person, but I can relate. My "babies" slept in their cozy bassinet and crib in my room.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Nope, no imaginary friends but definitely a vibrant imagination. :-) OH, I did have imaginary conversations. Heehee

Sandra Heska King said...

Oh dear. I don't remember having a Ginny. The only doll I remember was a big rag doll with straps on her feet that I could strap to mine and then dance with her.

I spent a lot of time alone in the woods and sometimes sang to imaginary audiences.

I liked to pretend I was Nancy Drew. I was almost 6 when my brother was born. I remember playing Robin Hood and Sky King. I was always Maid Marian or Penny. Which means I must have still been pretending when I was pretty old.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Ah, you kept your friends locked in your mind. Okay, that counts. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sandy -

My uncle bought me one of those dolls, but I preferred standing on his big feet while he waltzed around. :)

Blessings,
Susan :)