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19

April


Alternative Reality. Wednesday April 19, 2017

Imaginary Friend.

My imaginary friend
has an imaginary friend
whose imaginary friend
isn't real.

That imaginary friend
has an imaginary friend
whose imaginary friend
is me.

Suzanne Elvidge 1997

"You realise, Mummy," said my elder daughter, in scathing tones, "there comes an age at which most people grow out of having imaginary friends. That age is about eight."

My second daughter would never say that; my second daughter understands.

It sometimes seems as if there are two definite sides of our family, with a deep chasm between us. On one side my husband and elder daughter, on the other side, my younger daughter and me. They are doers, achievers, organisers and "people-people". My second daughter and I are the dreamers.

It's rare we take time to talk. Even when my husband and number one are away sailing and it is just she and I alone, we don't talk much. We "hang out" together, which mostly means we are in our separate rooms, doing our own separate creative activities and each allowing the other space to do so. We have a lovely time together apart. But we don't tend to talk.

Last night, however, coming back from an Easter weekend at the coast, with just her and me and the guinea-pigs in the car, while Daddy and number one came on later with the trailer full of boats, we did talk.

She started by telling me about the detention she got (for not paying attention in class). She enjoyed it. "You have to sit in the English classroom so you're inside in the warm with no beef and banter (gossip and bitchiness) to deal with. And you can't look at anyone and you just sit there in silence for half an hour. It's lovely. I just go into a world inside my head. I wish I could have detention every day, but without having to get into trouble."

She paused. "Mummy, when you were my age, did you have worlds inside your head?"

Well, of course I did. Many creative people do. In my favourite world, I was a flying princess with lots of horses. I still have worlds inside my head, but now I write books about them. I still have the horses, though.

Our imaginary worlds are far more than daydreams. Our worlds are fully developed. They have their own immutable laws; they are populated and, while nominally under our control, they develop lives of their own.

I do not think these worlds are the property of writers only, but they are not given to everyone. If you have one (or many), please treasure it, spend time in it and tend to it.

The "real" world demands our attention of course: our bodies require housing and feeding; our relationships with "real" people require maintenance; but the worlds inside our heads are essential to our mental health. They are our solace and our escape.

And who is to say which is the real world and which imaginary?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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