Monday, December 13, 2004

Researchers take on imaginary playmates -- for real

A look at imaginary friends in childhood, and how they morph into other aspects of personality in adulthood (for instance, the fairly common experience of novelists whose characters seem to come alive and write their own story).

One of my first imaginary friends was a little white horse, who could become invisible, and fit in the palm of my hand. He was created *for* me by my older brother Bruce, who is a cartoonist.

Subsequently, I had a plethora of 'real imaginary fictional characters'! Growing up, I would often be accompanied by Napoleon Solo and Illia Kuryakin (both from 'The Man From Uncle'), John Drake (from 'Secret Agent'), John Steed and Emma Peel (from 'The Avengers'....I tried to keep Emma with me through adulthood), and even James Bond on occasion. I felt quite secure knowing that I was well protected by these friends, and could at any time disarm an errant nuclear device if required. Less frequently, I was sheparded by the Fantastic Four, Batman or my personal favorite, Spiderman (whatever became of him?).

These days I'm visited from time to time by 'Big Norman', AKA my 'Higher Self', who dispenses words of wisdom and calming insight, and is even more devilishly handsome and muscular than I am. But then, he's not imaginary.

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