Friday, March 06, 2020
Okay, so I have written quite a lot on this topic, and this is my best post about it.
What more can be said? Lots, actually.
As a child, my imagination ran rampant, and mostly what it imaginated were threats of all kinds. I was terrified of my Grandma Latondress's room divider, a chest of drawers with a large screen extending to the ceiling. Anything that tall had to be up to no good.
I was also scared of the beckers in my closet. Beckers, for all of you who aren't me, are black, stick-shift-shaped things that eat boys. I have no idea where my mind conjured these hellish creatures from, but they were real as dirt to me, and even more unpleasant. They lived inside a clock -- stop snickering, this isn't funny -- I christened "The Harold Call", for reasons equally lost in the sands of time and mystery. And so I was scared of the clock, too. At night it would slink around the house, ready to unleash its cargo of beckers to eat me up. Every nocturnal trip to the bathroom was fraught with terror and accomplished as quietly as possible lest it hear me.
Strangely, I didn't have imaginary friends. Not real ones, at any rate (haha). After John came into my life in 1980 and forced me to go outside, I made up a few, named after the characters in whatever books I was reading at the time, because making friends was far too much to ask of a boy who had spent most of his life in solitude. But I didn't even have a Potemkin village of friends--they were inventions to serve the purpose of escaping my stepfather's inquisition, nothing more. I knew it, and I think he did, too.
It's weird, because if you know me even a little, you know I am a VERY literal person. I couldn't play "the floor is lava" as a kid. Not because I was uncoordinated -- although that would have been a very good reason. Not because I didn't have an imagination. No. because I did. It was all too easy for me to imagine what a lava floor would do to me, and everything else in the house.
My literal nature makes me detest all forms of fakery, from makeup to small talk. But my favourite genre of novel is science fiction -- which is entirely made up, but done with underpinnings of reality so that you're required to imagine this is real.
My relationship with violence is likewise complex. I have confessed, several times now, that as a teenager I was put in therapy because my parents thought I could not comprehend the difference between real life and fantasy. They were wrong, dead wrong, but it was impossible for me to explain at that age just how. It's hard for me to do it now.
I know what's real and what isn't. Historical violence doesn't faze me too much, even pseudo-history like Game of Thrones (most of what's in that show aside from the dragons and the magic has analogues in actual history: the Red Wedding, for instance, was inspired by real events.) If it happened, portraying it is simply portraying what happened, and I may be disgusted and angered by the injustice of it but I'm not offended by the portrayal. Whereas...you take something like the Saw franchise. If that shit happened, I don't want to know about it. No, I think somebody imagined that. And having imagined it, he (it had to be a he -- very few women in my experience are that depraved) thought, you know what? The best thing to do would be to make others see the fruits of my imagination.
Why? And why do people go along? Teenagers laugh as eyeballs are pulped like grapes. How is that funny? How? Because it's not real? But it's portrayed as if it is. Why would you want to pretend something so destructive? To what purpose? Isn't there enough of this stuff in the world as it is?
On a more positive note, I could never have imagined my life as I'm living it right now, but I sure can imagine some lovely paths from here. And imagination is part of what's needed for commitment. Dreams can be made real. when imaginations -- hearts and minds -- unite. "We Shall Overcome" was first imagined, then accomplished.