Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blessing and Curse?

    A writer's imagination is a blessing and a curse. A gift and a burden. It allows me to vividly see how things are, might be, will be, and how I wish they could be. I can use my imagination to dream of how I hope an event will transpire, see it as if it is a true and factual happening. I can hold the thought close to my heart and let it elevate my spirit, bolster my mood, restore hope. This can indeed be a blessing during times when I am struggling. I can also view a chain of events, understand the natures of those involved and surmise the eventual outcome. It is as if I can predict the most likely scenario, but am often helpless to alter the course of destiny. There really is only so much one can do when the actions and reactions of others' are involved. It is like seeing a stalled car on the railroad crossing, hearing the approaching train, and knowing there is no stopping the ensuing collision.  It also allows me to see individual events, the overall view, and have a good idea of what is happening behind the scenes, and out of my view. This is part of the curse.
    Having been a student of human nature for as long as I can remember has taught me an understanding of how people will act and react given almost any scenario. I have always stood on the sideline watching interactions, interplay, cause and effect, understanding where the situation is heading. This gives me an advantage in writing because I can take a chain of events and follow them through to their logical conclusion. It also gives me the ability in the real world to see a series of events, analyze the situation, and foresee the most likely outcome. The blessing and the curse. I have been faced with outcomes that I accurately predicted. Events I wish had not happened, but was helpless to alter.
    Where I tend to err is when I project my own nature onto that of another. I see the situation and instead of stepping back and seeing with the analytical mind, I project my own personality onto the players and imagine the outcome. Where this fails me every time is that my empathic nature makes me take into consideration how my actions, deeds and words will effect those around me. I analyze and overanalyze a situation, using my writers imagination, to try and lessen my impact on others. I strive to lessen hurt, angst, anger and disappointment. I will take the burden of these onto myself before intentionally, or willingly inflicting them on anyone else. This projection of my nature puts me directly into the path of that train, and I am the car stalled on the tracks, seeing pending impact a brief second before I am demolished. I have made this mistake repeatedly, assuming that others will take into account my feelings, nature and needs. It happens frequently, in many levels of my life. I feel it underlines my naivete, innocence, gullibility and trust. And every time I caution myself to not repeat the mistake. But I do it over and over, it is my nature.
    A blessing of the writer's imagination is the ability to pretend. I can pretend that everything will be fine. I pretend that some things just aren't happening. I pretend that tomorrow, next week, next month, my hopes and dreams will come to fruition. I am like the lonely child with imaginary friends that I invite to tea. I sit with empty cups, cookie-less saucers, teddy bears in hats, and hold entire conversations with my guests. Entire dialogues, confessing my aspirations, fears, desires, as I pour invisible tea into tiny cups for friends that only exist in my mind. It is a fiction that helps maintain an imagined level of stabilty, and sanity. It alleviates the ache of despair and lonliness to be able to voice my thoughts, even if I am the only one answering. A lifetime ago, I read a novel by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the tagline on the title pages said, "You are what you pretend to be, so you had better be careful about what you pretend to be." It was a cautionary tale of deceit, subterfuge, spies, and retribution. But I have always held that concept in my heart as a way of altering my reality for the better. If I pretend to be confident, self-assured, happy, content, solitary instead of lonely, then eventually these will become my truths, my reality. And here is where my imagination is a gift and a blessing, but it definitely comes with a price.

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