Etain mentioned imaginary friends in her comments on my last post and I started thinking about this issue, and whether it has any relationship to the development of writing interest and skills. First, though, I've always been confused by one issue related to imaginary friends. That is, how real do people's imaginary friends seem to them when they are kids? I grew up in the country with no other children around, and didn't attend school until first grade. I had quite a few imaginary friends. There was Red Spot and Barefoot, two youths from a savage tribe on Jupiter, and there was McCallister, a war weary WW II vet who carried a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle). These were not characters that I played. They were companions to the characters I played. However, though I often conversed with them, and even argued with them, during play, I never actually "thought" they were real. They didn't go in the house with me, or sleep in the same room with me. When I was finished playing I put them back on the shelf, so to speak, and took them out again next time I played that game.
Let me ask, how many of you had imaginary friends? And if you did, how real were they to you? Were they one or were they legion? Did they talk to you when you weren't "playing?" Lest you fear to reveal such information because you think it makes you look psychotic, I suspect that all children are a little psychotic from the adult standpoint. I certainly was.
And for those of you who "still" have imaginary friends, remember that I'm a psychologist. Tell me all about it. I might be able to get you some help. ;)