IMAGINARY FRIEND – Weekly Writing Challenge

When I was little, I had imaginary playmates. I talked to them. They followed me around. I was never lonely because I had friends who understood me. After I started school, my shadow friends left, never to return. More accurately, they consolidated and acquired a more sophisticated persona.

“They” became a “she.” My narrator. And she as been with me my entire life. A companion for sure, but also a “shadow me.” She sits on my shoulder and almost never shuts up. Whatever has gone wrong in my life, I can blame it on the narrator. It’s all her fault.

My narrator remembers everything. She fills in my back story. Technically, I’m in charge of my life, but sometimes, I wonder. My narrator seems to know what will happen before I do. She never stops telling my story.

She is my third person perspective on life — as I live it in real time. I’m so accustomed to her running commentary, that during her brief silences, I become alarmed by her absence. She is so much a part of how I make sense of life (the universe and everything, thank you Douglas Adams), I’m unsure whether or not I could understand anything much without the accompanying narration.


As long as I can remember, my narrator — who is me but not me — has had no name except maybe a form of mine. She is writer-Marilyn. She has a job. To fill the gaps in my story. To add “he said” and “she said.” To describe the things people do. Sometimes supply a little mood music, suggest changes to the script, and scenery. She “fictionalizes” reality.

My unreal pal distracts me and has no respect for “the moment.” No respecter of persons either, she will make me laugh precisely when I shouldn’t. Over the years, she has gotten me into trouble with bosses, teachers, spouses, and complete strangers. I can hardly explain it’s not me laughing at them … it’s that damned narrator.

Despite the perils of the relationship, I’ve learned a lot from my nameless friend. She has taught me to view life as an endless story with chapters, back stories, hilarity, weird characters, strange coincidences, tragedy, romance, hope, and despair. Because she weaves the story lines together into the epic of my life, I have a better world view, a more cohesive vision of how I fit into the fabric of others’ existences — and how other people fit into mine.

She complicates my life and at the same time, simplifies it.

My only job is to follow the script, even when it makes no sense, and to fix the typos when I spot them. My narrator takes care of the rest.

Categories: Anecdote, Daily Prompt, Life

Tags: , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. This sounds so much like me. My narrator was the one who suggested me to write.


    • Good narrator you’ve got! Will he/she also edit it for you? I wish mine would criticize less and edit more. Maybe grow some fingers and type!

      Maybe those voice-to-text programs will come of age and I can start talking my books into the computer? That would probably encourage me to write more! My wrists would sing a hosanna.


  2. Loved this one.


  3. Hi, I stumbled on you on Doobs blog, he said you always write good posts ~ He was not wrong ~ thank you for a delightful read!


  4. Good thoughts about the role of the narrator, through fiction writing or life. The photo is good too. See you.


  5. Love the photo. The background voice in your head is the narrator? I wonder if because you are a writer it is more present than for others.


    • I think it is at least in part a writer’s “thing” because other writers I’ve asked about it have one. I’ve frequently wished I could simply record the whole thing, then edit it down to a manageable size. Except it would be a bit too Proustian for modern tastes. Too Proustian for MY taste.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I never had imaginary friends but I do have a narrator of sorts, commenting on life and making stuff up.


  7. The personality that decided not to split. I think I might have one, but my voice is louder.


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