September 2, 2012
Being a writer obviously means that I think a lot about imaginary people. I always have. When I was tiny, I had Sally and Mr. Goober. They only played on my special blanket, and only at night. Mr. Goober was curly; Sally was straight (I still don’t know what this means; don’t read into it.) I also made up Little Friend, who would play with my sister on long car rides. If my sister was mean to me, I would tell her Little Friend would die unless she gave me a kiss (nice, huh? Such is the nature of siblings.) When my own kids were little, I made up imaginary friends for them (no death threats in this case), and they made some up themselves: Violet, a tiny moose the size of a child’s thumb from Princess Daughter; and Dinkadakadore, a sinister old woman who was also a man with gray skin and orange eyes, invented by Dearest Son, who will someday be the next Stephen King.
Recently, McIrish and the kids and I went to a garden center that featured terrariums. I haven’t had a terrarium since I was in fourth grade, but I was charmed by how dang cute they are. We bought four tiny plants and an iron turtle, and I went home and got to work.
Being a writer generally means one cannot turn off one’s imagination, which is both a blessing and a curse. The turtle instantly assumed a name and a personality. Henry is quite vicious and bites people with his needle-sharp teeth. He runs around my office at night and destroys things. The dog is afraid of him. He is my guard turtle, so I put up with him. Sometimes, he pees on the rug. When two of the terrarium plants died, I told McIrish that Henry ate them. (Note that Henry is not smiling in the photo. It’s beneath him.)
Nice to know the imaginary friends aren’t done with me yet.