I used to have two imaginary friends: God, and Blah Blah. Blah Blah was genuinely invisible– even to me– with no visage to describe. God, on the other hand, looked like this:
Being too young to understand the gorgeous irony of having an imaginary friend named God, and too innocent to realize that thanks to this minion, I’d forever associate a feline-hungry alien with the Father, Son and Holy Whatever, it’s not too much of a surprise that I sprouted– like a potato left next to a wet sink– into the quasi-functional, socially stunted, devout atheist that I am today.
Imagination is something I’ve always had, and a fortunately fluid one, at that; going through wintry frozen spells and springtime deluges, it’s always been there in one capacity or another. Tact has not. Nor tenacity, except when the two are intertwined.
Because if I’ve persevered at anything in this life thus far, it’s lacking scruples, all the time.
Anyway, around age five, I forsook God and Blah Blah for The Rugrats. If ever there’s been an argument for television quashing the imagination of young ones, my toddlerhood was it. I remember playing on the slide with God, drawing “pictures” of Blah Blah (just blank pieces of paper), and then, one day… it was Tommy Pickles playing on the swing set with me, with God and Blah Blah having dissolved back into the ether from whence they were formed.
There was nothing functional about God and Blah Blah. The retrospective examination of anyone’s childhood will uncover a few creepy demons. And anyhow, my relationship with The Rugrats is much more disturbing than a bromance with a cat-eating deity and his faceless, nothing friend. It’d be one thing if I hopped from imaginary playmates to real, live human beings. Of course, every good writer needs a stockpile of inexplicably off-color tales, starting at an age when accountability didn’t exist, in order to flourish.
That’s how I justify my weird childhood to myself, at least.
So, this is the point in the post where I generally take the aforementioned questionably traumatic anecdote from my past and give it some kind of profound, universal meaning for my readers. But essentially killing off a couple of ethereal friends, with names more bizarre than their initial existence, can’t really be turned into something poignant. Not even by ChaoticProlixity: the queen of faithful leaps, eloquent bullshit, and meaningless diatribes.
But we writers are collectors. Or, hoarders. Six of one, half dozen of the other, right? Or… six of everything, half-dozen of all the other things, to keep the metaphor in context.
Which of us doesn’t have a stockpile of forsaken ideas; a desktop folder labeled “BAD,” with hundreds of word documents– textual diarrhea seeping from their cyber seams– stuffed inside, or a spiral-bound notebook, filled with illegibly hateful scribbles and torn, yellowed pages? And sure, every word has value, and throwing them out is akin to tossing a penny in a dumpster every day for the rest of your life.
But there’s such a thing as wasteful saving.
Among the plethoric rules I’ve told must be followed in order to produce quality writing– free write, then edit; outline, then flesh out; compile, organize, separate, walk away from, don’t give up on, come back to, abandon; also, quality over quantity, but frequency is foremost, and always write what you know, or research the unknown; introspect, inspect, circumspect, alter, conserve, write from your heart and for your heart and for yourself and everyone else and always remember to use proper punctuation… sometimes– the only one that actually holds any water is the one barely mentioned: write.
About God and Blah Blah? Sure. Poor guys never got the proper disincorporation they deserved, after all.