Living With A Hyperactive Imagination – Kate Paulk

Living With A Hyperactive Imagination – Kate Paulk


A while back Sarah dropped an aside into one of her posts about the “joys” of living with an active imagination, and that maybe I’d write more about it because not only do I have one, it’s kind of… er… interesting to live with. So yes, this is that post.

Feel free to move on if you wish. You don’t have to live with it, after all.

I’ll start with a bit of an overview of the whole deal: I wouldn’t call myself terribly empathetic, but I can get to the equivalent by imagining how I’d be in an equivalent situation and going from there. I’ve done this so many times now it’s damn near automatic and looks like empathy. I’m also perfectly capable of mentally sliding myself into another world in tiny time-slices.

This makes me a very effective tester because I can put myself in the shoes of multiple kinds of user, and a very evil tester because I can think of all manner of ways to do things to software that the programmer never thought anyone would try (if I had a buck for every time a programmer has asked me “But why did you do that?”I’d have a lot more cash than I do now).

The thing about having an active imagination, though, is that most people don’t get it. They don’t get close enough to realize they don’t get it. The reaction to something completely different usually isn’t “Wow! That’s so different!”, it’s “WTF?” on a good day. On a bad day, you stand a good chance of someone calling for an exorcist, or the modern equivalent, a psychiatrist.

What most people consider “new” is usually “an uncommon perspective on something I’m used to”, so someone who can twist things sideways and find something that looks completely new is going to get hell because it’s just too different, too strange, and too much. Me, I don’t even realize I’ve done it, so I’m left wondering why I’m getting the “WTF are you on?” looks. And that’s when I’m trying to be normal.

When I’m relaxing and being myself, it goes beyond that.

My personal theory here is that a really active imagination is in line with controlled schizophrenia – you hear voices and see things but instead of treating them as if they’re real, you treat them as something to make stories from. Of course, I could be completely wrong here, but it seems close enough to work for me.

So, yes. The more lively aspects of my imagination talk to me. They show me things. So much so that I had to make the conscious decision to pay attention to the world my physical body is even though it was much less interesting (which doesn’t always translate to enjoyable) than the worlds inside my head.

I can – and have, when I’ve had bad times – lose myself for days in my imagination, just daydreaming in the form of narrative. I try to avoid that for obvious reasons. Life doesn’t happen when I do that. Bills don’t get paid, cats start getting irritated over not getting fed on time, and things fall apart. It’s not exactly pleasant.

So how do you live with it?

Start with Gandalf’s advice to Frodo about the Ring: “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.” Until you know someone is going to be able to follow your imagination without freaking out, they’re better off not knowing it exists, because in my experience, recovering from freaking out a friend just doesn’t happen. There’s always that lingering question on my end of whether I’ve gone too far, which always buggers up my judgment.

Pay attention to the world that your feet are in. This is the one that can hurt you. You need to learn to live in it or it will hurt you (something highly intelligent, extremely imaginative small children really don’t like to hear and don’t want to understand… if my experience is any guide). You also need to learn to interact with “normal” people (yes, yes, I know there’s no such thing. I mean people who aren’t like me, because the closest I get to normal is when I plank on a sphere – and yes that is a really crappy geometry joke. So kill me) without scaring the living daylights out of them.

Find a more or less socially acceptable way to let the imagination out. It could be fanfic. It could be original fiction. Or role-playing. Whatever, as long as it works, it’s good. Because – again, from my experience – if someone bottles this up for too long, the best option is that it dies.

The worst is that it twists. And when that happens… That’s a completely different post, and a much less pleasant one.

So those who have an imaginative child, don’t try to squash it, but do try to direct it in ways that won’t scare the mundanes and teach the child how to live with this world as well. Those who have the imagination themselves, if you’re still fighting it, try a few of the things I’ve suggested.

And remember, ordinary people really don’t get it, no matter how much they think they do.

241 thoughts on “Living With A Hyperactive Imagination – Kate Paulk

  1. Many years ago one of the nieces looked up at me and said, “Uncle John, you’re acting weird.” My truthful answer was, “It’s not an act.”

    The line between colorful character and crazy old guy is a little slippery and can move without warning.

    Later in life, letting the right amount of imagination out has turned more subtle. During a local drive with my wife another driver began a series of honks and arm waving, after a couple a seconds we realized he was drawing attention to his rear window decal in response to ours. His also said Miskatonic University. The only other decal on my car is the one that says, “Weyland Yutani, Building Better Worlds.”

    My wife knew she wanted to be a music teacher from a fairly early age and she has done that with great success. I am in the early phase of retirement, and I still do not have a good answer for the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question.

    Thank you for your insight.

    I read both ConVent and ConSensual. I think I know who some of the characters are modeled upon, but others I am not so sure.


    1. “I think I know who some of the characters are modeled upon,”
      Lies. Lies. It’s all lies. (Tucks pointy tail in jeans. Fluffs hair over horns.) LIES. I don’t even own a blue dress. (Anymore.)

      1. And of course, no one else in your family has been Tuckerized, either. Or quoted with inside jokes.

          1. It always struck me as strange that Calvin had an imaginary friend *smarter* than him. [Smile]

            1. Season 2 of ‘Agents of Shield’ has done the same thing (i.e. smarter imaginary friend), though there are mitigating circumstances.

              Of course, in Calvin’s case, “smarter” on the part of Hobbes frequently means something along the lines of “more practical”.

            2. Hobbes was a case of projection, specifically Calvin’s id had projected his superego onto Hobbes so that Calvin himself could run rampant:-).

              1. Calvin’s superego couldn’t tie him up in a chair. We know that really happened because his father saw it. Also, Hobbes ate cookies at Susie’s tea party when she wasn’t looking.

                1. Y’all’s failure is in thinking that C&H is taking place on Earth. My own guess is that it is happening on Altair IV.

                  1. The Great Machine on Altair IV gave power to the “monsters of the id” not power to a person’s superego. Hobbes was too “tame” to be a creature of Calvin’s id.

                    1. Pish-tosh. Calvin’s Id was already fully empowered. Altair IV’s “Great Machine” embodied the suppressed portion of his psyche, in this case Hobbes.

                2. Then if Hobbes wasn’t “just” an imaginary friend, what was he?

                  Did Calvin have the “mutant” power of giving his imaginary friend the ability to actually influence the real world (as well as the ability to act against Calvin)?

                  Was Hobbes a “hob goblin” playing at being Calvin’s imaginary friend?

                  If Hobbes was an angelic being, why would he eat Suzie’s cookies?

          2. You might enjoy the strip Frazz. Though the writer denies all connection, all the way from Frazz looking like a grown-up Calvin onward.

        1. Is there much of a market for Up? Government crop supports? There seems to be great demand for Up, but without knowing what are the requirements for growing it I don’t know whether I would care to grow Up. Does it require lots of fertilizer? What are the potential markets for its use (I used to frequently hear about people throwing up, does that mean it has some sort of athletic or sports use?) Is it a very competitive market? How many people are growing up, these days? It seems to me that it must be a challenging crop; albeit profitable. I hear so many people advising growing it that its crop production seems as ubiquitous as “plastics” was in the late Sixties.

          I would hope that when you grow up you become prosperous, or at least break even. I wouldn’t want to raise a crop that lost money unless it had a very low overhead.

          1. It requires lots and LOTS of fertilizer. People who grow Up are usually overflowing with fertilizer.

          1. *looks down*

            While if you can’t manage growing up, an alternative is to work on growing out. But since that has a nine month maturation, it is usually recommended that there is a period of lying fallow between each cycle.

            1. Or you eat junk food meals while chasing around after paramedics, sleep too little, then go to grad school and eat cheap meals while sleeping too little, and you get a semi-permanent out with no need for cyclic repetition.

            2. I have been doing additional research into this whole “growing up” (upraculture is, I believe, the technical term.) Apparently it does require a particular environment, typically referred to as “uplands” for its cultivation. It seems as if up is a multi-use product, with some portion employed as food (frequent references to being “fed up”) and some portion of the plant used as packing material (judging by the frequent references to having to “put up with” something.) I have also noticed indications that the product may be best harvested early in the day, perhaps while still soft from dew, as I see many references to needing to “get up in the morning” and “up with the sun.”

              It is possible I have erred in thinking it a plant product, however, as I have noticed that “down” — which would seem its logical counterpart — is known to come from geese, so perhaps the edible portion of up refers to the animal from which up is gathered? References about getting up with the chickens suggest the product may simply come from a different fowl.

  2. People who say “I have this idea for a book . . . ” as if it was the only idea they’ve ever had, and it was so incredibly hard! Just baffle me. I mean, sure, sometimes I need help with ideas “I can only come up with ten ways to destroy the Earth, and I really need thirteen. Who’s got any new ones?” But I find it scary to think of a brain without ideas popping in all the time. Is it early training to think only about clothes and makeup? How your team is doing in the stats? Who’s going to get voted off the island or dance with some star no one with any sense has ever heard of?

    I think what writers have is deliberate, controlled schizophrenia. We decide what sort of character we need and build him. Some times the process is more subconscious than conscious, but a fully formed character popping into the conscious part of my brain is no big deal. The thing that really worries me is how easy it is to pull up miserable whiners.

    1. Most of my character creation has been in the context of old fashioned paper-and-pencil RPGs. For me, I know a character has clicked when I don’t need to work to add additional details to a character, they just seem to come naturally. There are always a few questions that do not apply, but if I can immediately answer things like “What books would this character be reading” or “If I put them in a modern restaurant, what would they order for breakfast” then I know the character exists as a fully fleshed out being rather than a cut-out. The ultimate test is having two unrelated characters meet and interact and mentally playing out the interaction; if they’re truly developed you’ll learn things about both characters because you’ve put them both in a situation that you’d never considered when creating them.

      1. I rarely know what real people who are close friends and family would do or would like, except after long study. So it would seem kinda weird to demand this of somebody I just met.

        Characters like what it would be fun for them to like, according to me. I can know what they should like, because they are not real. Real people are essentially black boxes.

    2. FWIW, most of the folks I know (….alright, totally not a good selection) who say “I have an idea for a book” mean “I think this idea is really fun, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Or maybe “I really want to read this story.”

      1. “I really want to read this story.”

        And that’s how you end up writing a book. Or at least that’s what happened to me.

      2. It struck me this evening that “I have an idea for a book” is the literary equivalent of “You know what would be good for dinner?”

        The person making the remark is hungry for something and hoping another person will do the hard work of preparing and serving it.

        1. To be fair, sometimes they’re hoping that because they know they can’t cook it.

          (I can’t cook Chinese food. Japanese curry, sure; those nice Hawaiian spam in teriyaki sauce, sure. Even some onigri. But my every attempt at even stirfry does NOT turn out to be “Chinese food.”)

    3. Hey, what’s your limits on destroying the Earth? Is having an unnoticed neutron star impacting the Sun (or even just swinging by too close) too big? How about being in the beam of death that comes out the poles of a hypernova? Tractor beam so powerful it rips an entire continent off the surface? Malfunctioning Alcubierre drive (causes the compression of half the Earth while the other half remains the same)? Sunbeam from the Lensman series?

      Oh, wait. That wasn’t a serious request, just an example? Never mind.

      1. Sunbeam? Come on, Wayne, go for the whole enchilada! Two planets with opposing intrinsic velocities of 5C as a nutcracker… in the Sun.

        Done right, you’ll wipe out the whole solar system out to Pluto, and probably get quite a bit of the Oort cloud while you’re at it.

            1. As if any of the Skylarks would need to do that to destroy a measly planet. You could just cobble together a torpedo and point it at a planet from a lightyear or more away, then turn the engines on full power and sit back to watch the destruction.

              1. Last time I went to reread those, I couldn’t find them! They’re in a box somewhere . . . hmm . . . SCORE! Kindle versions of everything!

                And, umm, yes I am destroying the world in multiple ways. My poor time traveling mad scientists is having a terrible time saving it. I mean, First time is an accident, second time a coincidence . . . he’s more than a little unbalanced, so it’s taken him to twelve before it finally dawns on him . . .

                1. Eliminate the radioactivity heating the Earth, causing the thing to finish cooling. Wait, probably not fast or lethal enough.

                  Create a wormhole sort of thing between the center of the earth and empty space. Pressure forces the stuff through until the forces reach equilibrium, which involves factors I can’t calculate. If it was purely liquid, with no viscosity, I would expect half and half. However, this is a structural and gravity problem, likely not the cooling I was trying for.

                  Maybe do a bunch, below the surface. Empty out a bunch of holes, switch to fresh vacuum, and then maybe enough cooling can happen to be a problem. Hmm, no, following the bad guy MO, they probably are set up as resource extraction/heat engine things. Either pull in hot and cold from other planets, or just petrochemicals and metals. First accident bleeds off some of the atmosphere, and second wrecks everything trying to fix the first.


                2. Doesn’t it matter what time frame you are contemplating? I mean, heat death of the universe will almost surely destroy the Earth, won’t it? Or heck, just allow Green policies to become the rule and the Watermelons will destroy the planet in a century or two.

                  1. Now, don’t accept their claims at face-value. The total extinction of life on earth would not result in even its orbit being perturbed — and we aren’t going to wipe out life on earth.

                3. Invent cheap space travel, ideally cheap interstellar space travel, leading to all the people with any imagination whatsoever Packing up the truck, throwing Granny’s rocker on the roof, and moving to Beverl…er, Moving Away, leaving behind the dull and officious, who will prompty regulate the planet to death.

                    1. Pfui. Dealing with bureaucracy is a piece of cake. Dealing with bureaucracy without automatic weapons, that’s a pain in the euphemism.

                    2. When the Python “Complaints Department” sketch is the best match for reality…

                      “No, Sir, you’ve misunderstood: This is the Data Requests Department for the County of Redacted. We can’t possibly provide any Data to Fill any requests…”

                  1. One book I’ve enjoyed on that theme was Red Thunder by John Varley. Unfortunately it relies on a purely fictitious technology, but it’s still fun when Our Heroes drive up in a 4X4 and tell the Chinese “Welcome to Mars!”:-).

          1. “Destroying the Earth is harder than you may have been led to believe.

            “You’ve seen the action movies where the bad guy threatens to destroy the Earth. You’ve heard people on the news claiming that the next nuclear war or cutting down rainforests or persisting in releasing hideous quantities of pollution into the atmosphere threatens to end the world.


            “The Earth is built to last. It is a 4,550,000,000-year-old, 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000-tonne ball of iron. It has taken more devastating asteroid hits in its lifetime than you’ve had hot dinners, and lo, it still orbits merrily. So my first piece of advice to you, dear would-be Earth-destroyer, is: do NOT think this will be easy.”

            You want advice? get it here:

            1. We’d have to get Pam’s verification on this, but i suspect she was only going for, “Wipe out all life (or possibly merely all humans) on Earth” not necessarily “Destroy the physical planet”.

              But the Doc Smith scenarios above would certainly do the job.

                  1. It is a little reported fact that SJWs cannot be eliminated by radiation poisoning. Something about density, IIRC.

                    1. It’s the glitter. Reflects the charged particles. I swear, it’s totally true. The only Chernobyl survivors were glitterati.

              1. Oh, I’ve had everything from the robot revolution and Grey Goo to accidentally generating a Black Hole that engulfed the Earth. I had a tragic accident during the first trials of an FTL drive and crashed it into Earth at about 75% of c. Really, the plagues and nuclear wars were boring and mundane.

                :: sigh :: How far back in time should he travel this time? And which politicians should he kill? Surely there is some path to survival.

                1. There was the Lem story about the scientists re-making the history of the world, and I remember the passage where one of them was fuming over some space ship that came so close to the North American continent at the end of the final ice-age that the radiation killed the mastodons and the horses that he was planning for the Incas and Aztecs to use for the conquest of Europe.

      2. Destroying the Earth … hmmm.

        Well, raw energetic magnitude gets a little boring after a while. There are all sorts of stellar events that go off out there in the universe which, if it happened close enough, would probably bake/vaporize Earth.

        One idea is about the quantum vacuum. In quantum mechanics, you can think of particles as if they are specific types of excitations or waves in some medium. As far as we know everything about it is linear (with the possible exception of gravity – tends to throw a monkey wrench in all the nice linear-algebra tricks used).

        If there were any nonlinearities in the behavior of the medium, then that would imply that some extremely localized energetic event could alter the laws of physics in a small place, leading to different kinds of or perturbations to excitations/particles/fundamental forces. If the change is stable (tending back to the state of the universe that we know), other than a weird flash in the pan nothing should happen. If, however, the change leads to an instability (there exists some other lower energy state for the “vacuum medium”), then it would generate a wave that propagates out from the event at the speed of light, altering the laws of physics to this new lower-energy configuration, and wiping out all matter/energy/fundamental forces as we know them as it goes, and eating the universe.

        Only problem with this as an interesting apocalypse: You’d never know if it happened or not – it’s arrival would be the first you would know about it.

    4. You’re talking about multiple personality disorder.

      Schizophrenia is something different.

      1. No, while that’s part of it, we’ve got whole worlds we believe in, live in, mentally and temporarily, and pretty much under control. That is to say, we come and go from them at will. The village of Ash is more real to me than Bulgaria. I mean, why should I believe Bulgaria is real? I have a character lean over my shoulder to read what I’m writing. “Oh yeah, I would totally do that.”

        But it’s in my head, not received via the ear. It’s a shallow loss of contact with reality. I can pause it, think about the plot and do I really want to go where this scene is headed? Then slide right back in.

    5. People who say “I have this idea for a book . . . ”

      Do they try to charge you for it? I get that a lot. They want me to write the book, and then split it 50/50.

      Two of them, I’ve tied to chairs and led them through the character creation process, environment, what world is this, how does the science work, read this wikipedia article and all of the linked articles, anatomy doesn’t work like that, here’s what you have to do when creating a new language…

      Others quickly learned to run away (as well as how fast I can run). It’s Natural Selection.

      Sarah, I can relate to the imagination v schizophrenia comparison. I tell people that my muse is an East LA street gang, jumping out from shadows and beating the carp out of me until I start writing.

      And no, “normal” people don’t get it. If we’re lucky, we find people who encourage us (which can be a lot like encouraging a hyperactive 8-year old to play with a ballista).

  3. I think that “controlled schizophrenia” is one of the best descriptions I’ve had for the way my brain works at times, because I read the essay, and it immediately clicked somehow: this, to a large extent, is how my mind behaves.

    In my case, it makes me an effective information security guy because I can think “how can the system be broken” from a number of different angles. In a larger case, this kind of thinking makes for an excellent “Devil’s Advocate”, because I can set aside the part of my mind that would normally block off a certain train of thought.

    Are you good at coming up with analogies for complex situations? That’s another trait I think I have that seems like it could be related.

    1. “Are you good at coming up with analogies for complex situations? That’s another trait I think I have that seems like it could be related.”

      Aristotle thought a gift for sensing resemblances was the essential mark of a poet (aka fiction writer) and the only one that could not be taught.

      1. Yes, quite a bit of it is quite literal – but I am good at the analogies too.

        The literal side: it’s kind of freaky when you’ve got this character who’s sitting just behind you telling you stuff and being smug at you when you’re not figuring it out fast enough.

        Honestly, my imagination and my subconscious are right bitches.

    2. The description seems pretty accurate to me. Whether it’s *clinically* accurate or not is anyone’s guess.

  4. I thought the wild imagination had faded away during my first round of college. It started seeping back out via geology (I said wild, didn’t I?) and talking-airplane stories, then hit full power in grad school. But I’d never had the “whoa, down boy” story onset until last month, when I started hearing and half-seeing characters and scenes, thankfully not while in the cities or other “gotta-be-here-now” situations.

    Given the timing of my first surge of stories and characters, I thing your idea about it being a slightly more socially useful form of schizophrenia.

    1. Ooh, yeah. It’s more than a little bizarre and unnerving when it starts taking over like that. Controlling it is an art, and Bad Things Happen if you don’t/can’t.

      1. sometimes you need to be a functional sociopath to properly control the schizophrenia induced characters.

  5. Imagination means seeing possibilities, good and bad, giving a set of circumstances.

    It’s basically a good trait but if one has this gift one does have to learn to control it i.e. learn to discriminate between real possibilities, unlikely possibilities, interesting possibilities and impossibilities.

    A good writer makes stories based on interesting impossibilities or possibilities on the cusp of impossibility.

    1. If they’re not interesting, why bother writing about them?

      As far as the actual neurological mechanisms involved, I don’t pretend to know how it works. I just use the most apt descriptions I can get hold of.

  6. Hmm, perhaps that explains why when I look at the full geometry when talking about the thermodynamics of the earth I seem to get some strange looks. (Heat transfer is driven by temperature differences. The center of the earth is hot, and very far away. small changes on the cold end won’t have much impact. Kelvin suggests that unless you are a young earther, the earth is likely cooling.)

    I don’t like the talk of mental illness. Not because I can find anything wrong the analysis. It is just uncomfortable because of personal issues, stuff that often hits too close to home. Sorry if I didn’t put it delicately enough, gotta rush to maybe not be late to deal with some stuff partly caused by diagnosable issues.

    1. The point with writers is that our ability to create characters, to identify with them enough to write them as fully fledged out individuals is a controlled use of an ability, not a mental illness. We can immerse ourselves in these personalities to the point that we might be considered technically schizophrenic, but it is deliberate, controlled, useful stretch of our imaginations. We pop right out of it when it’s time to fix dinner.

      1. I get that people are making the distinction between useful weirdness and problematic levels of dysfunction.

        I’m just not comfortable signing off on the exact statement myself ’cause of stuff.

        Among other things, I have a weak grasp of the characteristics of schizophrenia.

        I remember something Lambshead said about high creativity often running in some of the same families mood disorders run in. I’m comfortable with that, so I not entirely certain why that particular analytical angle got to me. Perhaps I’m just a wimp.

        1. The real fun is that the boundary is really fuzzy, and has overlap. One reason why artists are so likely to be manic-depressive is perhaps that the artist career is easier to manage that many others while manic-depressed.

          1. Yes, it is a fuzzy one. Which is the reason for my suspicion that for the creative types it’s at a controllable (or possibly live-with-able) level as opposed to “requires the kind of medication you’d really prefer not to have to take”.

            1. The two are not mutually exclusive.

              I live with the effects of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and agoraphobia. I am also very imaginative (which is one reason I am single).

              Luckily, my therapist and my psychiatrist can tell the difference, although I have spooked them a few times.

        2. If you’ve had a bad time with the mental health system, you have plenty of reasons to be uncomfortable about it. I’m drawing parallels which may or may not be accurate – but I don’t plan on letting anyone mess with my brain to find out.

          Narcolepsy gives me enough trouble thankyouverymuch.

      2. Wait, we’re supposed to fix dinner on time? Well, I guess I can’t be a writer when I grow up!
        (Fortunately, the children are trained to complain that they are hungry at me, or they likely wouldn’t get fed.)

        1. I don’t need a watch. Athena T. Cat has one. She appears ten minutes before the alarm goes off in the morning and ten minutes before I’m at a good pausing place in the afternoon, and demands food.

          1. You’re lucky! If we’re home our cats will start pestering for food mid-morning. Kitty-dinner is *supposed* to be at about the same time as human-dinner.

            If we cave and feed them early, they *will* demand a second dinner. As we’ve discovered to our cost…

      3. Speak for yourself. I’ve been known to fix dinner in a total daze and have no memory of what I fixed, much less whether I ate it or not. That’s when I actually remember to eat in the first place.

    2. I’ve got my own arguments with mental illness, the medical profession’s view thereof, and the modern societal view of the same. They are not polite arguments.

      My basic opinion is that it doesn’t matter if you have a diagnosable mental illness unless you can’t control it well enough to live within your society. If you (the general you) can’t, your options are to find a society that works for you or do something to make it possible to live with the one you’re in.

      And you’re absolutely correct about the thermodynamics of the earth. I don’t know whether the internal core heat or the ginormous fission/fusion reactor we call the sun has the greater impact on the thin slice of the earth’s diameter that we inhabit, but given the scale of the energies both are chucking around, I’m kind of skeptical that humans can have more impact than the occasional zit.

      1. My basic opinion is that it doesn’t matter if you have a diagnosable mental illness unless you can’t control it well enough to live within your society.

        I’ve been seeing more stuff from shrinks of both kinds along these lines.

        I’d suggest however that those mental illnesses with an underlying physical cause (serotonin imbalances, structural differences) will have a harder time than people who are just frustrated because they are daddy’s special snowFLAKE and nobody else recognizes their awesomeness.

        1. Oh, I wouldn’t call the daddy’s special snowflake types “mentally ill”. The physical imbalances are things that can be compensated for to some extent – but if they’re severe enough, no dice.

      1. I think you totally missed the one I made a month ago, the one about the miniature Kate attacking someone’s face with a toothpick, otherwise known as a Paulk in the eye with a sharp stick.

        (BTW, in a future Con Vampire story, you totally need to have the music at the Ball played by “D.J. Thoris.”)

        1. Probably – I don’t have enough time to read all the comments here, and I’m not the type to scan for my name.

          I do love the “D.J.Thoris” suggestion!

  7. it does not help that to keep folks under control, the imagination must be squashed. The schools work to kill it off (well, any that do not follow their glorious vision for the planet, anyway) and the work environment is too often set to make having one a living hell. So definitely nurture it in the kids, but teach them to tone it down at appropriate times. Another reason to homeschool if at all possible

      1. my nephew had a couple of teachers who gave him trouble for drawing in class (disruptive?! a quiet kid not making a fuss is disruptive?) even though he was finished with all assignments or tests.

        1. Was he practicing his fast draw? They seem to have very little tolerance these days for that useful skill.

          1. No, but a nephew did get suspended (later rescinded) for telling a buddy his belt buckle didn’t just look like brass knuckles but really was, then showed how they came off. The kid had gotten it from his mom, and neither knew the brass knuckle portion was real and came off while you were wearing it. Nephew told the kid to go take it off and put it in his car before he got in trouble, and he did then went back out to his car to stash it … but a teacher saw them and because of “No Intelligence … er … Tolerance” everyone who touched it got suspended and they started to work on expelling the lot. All 4′ 11″ of my sis hit the ceiling and chewed a massive amount of heads off before someone got a thought and figured expelling, not just suspending, several Honor Students because they corrected a friends mistake trying to avoid him getting in trouble, and never lied about what happened, was more than just a bit stupid.

    1. Alas, yes. I had a kind of “fade into the background” protective camouflage which helped.

      1. Mostly, that didn’t work for me. Not that I was that imaginative, but they never could figure why they kept sending me to testing to see if I was “slow” and the testers came back with “genius” “In no way slow witted” . One teacher got it right “We bore him”

        1. For most teachers the idea that someone is smarter than they are is anathema. And they don’t know what anathema means.

          1. those were the worst teachers I had. Thing is, a good portion of the class was smarter than they were. One of them wanted me in Special Ed, one of my good teachers told him “Your problem is he is smarter than you are.” and was the one who admitted they and school bored me … he and another that year were good at not boring me, not surprisingly I got higher grades and more work finished under them. I also was resentful of the whiner for fobbing me off into Music Appreciation when I wanted a study period. He wanted more time off. It was mostly girls in the class, and they wanted to put on a play or something so the MA teacher asked for a as many boys as she could get. Those of us who had no interest were then forced into it as he decided he wasn’t going to have a study hall this year with so few kids in it. So, except in the rare times they covered something other than Disco, or their never put on play/musical I got low grades and “refuses to cooperate” on my report card for that year.

  8. Back in my code writing days we called it idiot proofing a program, though like as not some idiot would still manage to outsmart us.
    Later one of my jobs was writing crew procedures for astronauts, and I realized that idiots were pikers in comparison.
    And then there was my association with Mensa, not even going to go there.
    Perhaps a t-shirt is in order: “Using our powers of weirdness for the good of mankind!”

    1. “but why did you do that”
      has three good answers:

      1) I wanted to break it under controlled circumstances to see what I would lose
      2) I wanted to find the edges of what it can do
      3) I was bored.

      I admit that my work had had the same database for 15 years before I found some of the work-arounds, and I still don’t know how anyone missed them for so long.
      When we had the development meeting for the new database a lot of my co-workers asked for some of the “features” to be included. We were informed by IT that those were bugs, not features.

      1. I would really like to do development in an environment where we would take a program and “hand” it over to QA and say, “Here, break it! But tell us how you did it.” And then if they can’t break it, fire them and hire some pre-teens who are always getting into trouble for screwing with things.

        1. I must refer to a comment I heard once:

          “Anything is breakable given the right tools and enough time.”

            1. *chuckle*

              Would you accept the “and” for applications that involve the need to travel to a minimum safe distance?

        2. In engineering, that’s called “testing to destruction” and is required for anything you want to build. I have one brother who is a rocket scientist (I NEVER get tired of saying that), and he’s gotten to do some great fun testing, some of it at the undergrad level. I think other people do the testing now, but he gets to design propulsion systems, so it all works out.

          1. One of my regrets about being “restructured” was that I never got to see the testing people swing the cannon ball at the giant vacuum tube that I was working on.

      2. “An undocumented feature is a bug”.

        Until a customer forces you to break it again because they don’t want to rewrite their data pump.

    2. You can only make things idiot resistant. If you make them idiot proof, someone will build a better idiot. Idiocy can only be resisted, never defeated.

    3. There is no such thing as idiot-proofing: while genius has limits, idiocy has none.

      Also, if a user *can* do something, no matter how self-evidently stupid and insane it is, a user *will* do it and then complain that you allowed it to happen.

      This is why I tell my leads: “It’s one thing to let customers shoot themselves in the foot. But do we really have to load the gun for them, hand it to them, then help them fire it?”

  9. So that’s what’s wrong with me. Anyway, I know that I am being hit by all sides because the imagination takes a hit as well. I get my most comfort from reading when I am in this situation. The dog helps as well. It drives people nuts (my family actually) when I have such a wide range of knowledge — “what do you do with that?” I write.

    1. Heh. Yes. Another one that drives my family insane is extended what-iffery where me and – usually my father – would take some scenario and just keep brainstorming the possible implications of it. For hours.

    2. I just tell people when they ask things like that that It gets stuck in my head and I don’t think I can get it out short of using a drill.

      On the other hand I have friends who refer to me as “the vast kiddie-pool of knowledge”

      1. Many people have found that such stuck ideas can be dissolved in alcohol and pissed away. Exercise caution as some side effects have been reported.

          1. the old formula for Dewitt’s Back Pain Pills was great fun for drug testing … nothing like turning in a bright blue or blue/green sample to add some fun.
            Sadly, they don’t use it any more so no more blue.

            1. There was a news item t’other week about a compound that could be delivered in yogurt and would react to the presence of cancer in the GI tract, causing a more rapid breakdown in the presence of cancer cells and affecting the urine. I have no idea whether it changed the flow colour but think it cannot help but be preferable to a colonoscopy.

  10. There is nithing wrong with having a strong visual or auditory imaging ability, or an imagination that uses it spontaneously and often. Schizophrenia is a normal process mixing with an inability to tell reality from imagination, and probably it is not healthy content, either.

    OTOH, it is very common to have imagination tied to physical acts like painting or neurological acts like writing, without having any visual or auditory imaging component, or very little. Nor does it make you less or more creative.

    1. A lot of composers know how their music is supposed to sound before they write it (Even Beethoven, who was apparently really bad at transcribing what he heard in his head). I could see someone whose main focus is kinesthetic knowing exactly how to move to make art or whatever happen.

      (Yes, imagination can involve any sense – and so can hallucinations. Tactile hallucinations are weird… – mostly those happen to me as a narcolepsy side-effect).

      1. “A lot of composers know how their music is supposed to sound before they write it.”

        I have trouble getting how it would work any other way, and yes, I write music. Twice I’ve even gotten music from dreams, which is pretty wild—you have to tell everyone around you to shut up and get out of your way so you can write it down before you forget it. And *then* you have to figure out if it’s actually yours or if it’s a memory.

        Of course, dreams are pretty wild anyway. I hear tell that “pregnancy dreams” are really crazy; I’ve never been able to tell any difference. (I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s mostly that pregnant moms are remembering more dreams because they’re sleeping shallowly.) I only mention this because the second piece of music was the metal soundtrack to fighting ninjas in front of Jesus’ empty tomb.

        1. Well, personally, I get tunes by humming. When the humming turns into a tune I don’t know but I like, I try to remember it. Sometimes I get words by singing them, sometimes by writing them down. The only time I have words before writing them down or singing them is if I have to compose silently, like in the filkroom while somebody else is singing and I have no pen. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song in my head before it came out of my mouth, although sometimes I can hear something about how accompaniment or harmony should go while I’m humming or singing it early on.

          I’m a fast songwriter, and people tell me I’m good, but I can’t say anything about more advanced compositions. I imagine one would get more complicated the same way I make a song melody more complicated – I just putter at it until I like it.

          I imagine that it would be difficult to write tunes down before composing them, because you have to know what key it is. But some people are all about reading scores, so they might possibly compose by writing scores. I pretty much don’t write tunes down, because the few times I’ve tried it takes hours and other people can’t make it out anyway since I compose in the wrong keys for guitar. So there’s a fierce Darwinian competition of my tunes and lyrics; they have to be memorable or they don’t survive. 🙂

          Anyway, likewise I get stories by writing them down, and I get the sights and sounds of a story because it becomes obvious they are needed, not because I can see them in advance. It is of course possible to make stories by having toys to play them with or maps to look at, but as far as I can remember, I don’t even have terribly visual or auditory dreams, so Diana Wynne Jones’ famous advice to kids to imagine a place and then just imagine walking along and seeing what happens is pretty darned useless. But for other people, it can be great.

  11. So basically, if you think in pictures or sounds, or can even create mental images or sounds at all, this kind of imagination is often standard.

    If you don’t think that way, then you wouldn’t expect that kind of imagination without drugs, brain lesions, or a lot of work that demands you increase your sense imaging skills.

    The kind of imagination does not matter. What matters is using it to make new things.

    1. So, does that apply to physical objects, as well as stories? My imagination usually throws weird shop projects at me, rather than story ideas.

      1. In my experience, they pretty much are the same.

        You train your imagination and the rest of your mind. Train for stories, and process and evaluation improvements eventually net you more and better story ideas, and further grasp of what sorts of execution they are suitable for. Train for essays, and you can do better with those. I can say the same for programming or drawing.

        Last night, the auxiliary box I was planning was flawed. I took a step back, and started figuring out a plan with fewer unique parts. This morning, I figured out a more interesting and appropriate story concept for some situations I’m interested in exploring.

        I suspect it goes further than that. That imagination is problem solving. That finding the idea for a book is different from finding how to fix a hole in the wall by degree, not kind. That a great artist is not that alien from someone who can get along in life okay. Craft adds a need for skill. Art adds a need for a process tailored to the idiosyncrasies of the user.

        1. If I understand correctly, (a rare event) you’re saying that the keyboard is another tool. Mastering it simply requires much practice and many failed projects, until things come out looking like they should.

          1. Yep. And when you’ve had a project where everything just fell into place it’s gone into overdrive on you.

          2. Pretty much.

            Though like with everything else, doing stuff without a good grasp of prior art is a huge pain.

            Making a paper airplane, putting up book shelves, and designing an engine are significantly more difficult if you’ve never seen one.

            No need to reinvent the wheel, the hydraulic cylinder, or the battery.

            Having read some helps when writing a program, a story or an essay.

            1. I learned on Fortran and Basic. I can’t write a program in a decent amount of time anymore. Cussing semicolons takes too long.

              1. It literally took me years to get used to using the damn things. And still I forget nearly 1/4 of the time.

                  1. Is that distinct from other RPG languages? Because the one I learned was one of the simplest languages I ever learned, as long as you had the forms for it.

                    1. Having the “forms” was the big problem and I was used to the “logic planning” of other languages.

  12. I can relate, spent half to two-thirds of every school class daydreaming, recess was reserved for reading someone else’s imagination. Just found out that I got it from my mother. In a retirement home and you wouldn’t believe the stories she can tell. Would you believe that two of the young housekeepers stole two of her blouses. “Mom, you wear old woman’s blouses, those young girls wouldn’t be caught dead in them.” ‘Well, they want to leave their jobs and go to work elsewhere and want me to report them so they will get fired.’ “Huh? Why don’t they just quit?” ‘I’m not going to tell you if you can’t figure it out for yourself and I’ m not going to report them either. They can just keep their jobs.’ That’s when I told her that we needed to work on her plots a little more. But, I’ve got her number now.

    1. That sounds awfully familiar. I spent so much time at school off in another world somewhere.

  13. Guess it’s time to go back to the keyboard. Wrote a nice start to a story and it just flowed out. Got freaked when the characters started taking on their own personalities (despite assurances from writer friends that it was a Good Thing) and put away that story.
    Got going on another NaNoWriMo try and it took off as well.
    My excuse then was that both my Linux desktop and Winx laptop died with weeks… both serving as backup for the other…
    In reality I was a bit freaked at the clarity with which the characters made their preferences known.
    Found another copy of both stories and the textbook I was working on a few months back. Old hard drive in the pile was gonna be recycled as a server and had a third copy I’d forgotten.
    It’s time to apply the “just five minutes” principle and get ‘er done.
    But NaNoWriMo is just around the corner…. hmmmm that looks like an excuse too.
    Time to let the imagination loose…

    1. When the character start doing that, you’re onto a good thing – and yes, it can be bloody freaky.

  14. Since I am a fan of mysteries as well as science fiction and fantasy: the plot where the mystery writer gets into hot water because somebody gets murdered in a way which he either had already used in a book, or was researching for a book, is a pretty often used one.

    And I figured out quite early that talking about hiding bodies or what poison might work best are subjects best avoided with most people.

    But that works other way too, if I overheard couple of people planning a murder I would most likely assume they were just plotting for fun. Might even throw a few suggestions or data points their way.

    Hm. I wonder how often that has been used as a plot…

    1. Along with hiding body discussions, public discussions of the proper application of explosives, “enhanced” interrogation techniques, methods of silently removing “obstacles”, and the such are generally not recommended for public venues. Used to go to breakfast with a number of vets on the occasional Saturday morning. Some of the looks directed our way… 🙂

      1. Or when discussing how to create new types of weapons at Waffle House, especially when they would involve components that “normal” people understand as being particularly dangerous, such as nuclear material, biologicals, etc.

          1. Heh. I remember reading a short story years ago (I think it was in the RPGA’s magazine) about a bunch of role players stopping off at a diner coming home from a convention, and chatting about some of the games they played.

            The story ended with several law enforcement agencies approaching the oblivious gamers, guns drawn.

            1. That’s the one I was thinking of — maybe. I remember it formatted as a script, and a note saying that they had performed it at Worldcon.

              1. You’re probably right… I don’t feel like poring through my boxes of Polyhedrons to check. 🙂

      2. Was at work in a place far far away and this wench (she wasn’t, but it sorta fits) was sitting in the phone room looking a bit angry.

        I queried as to her status, and she said “I want to kill someone”.

        My response was along the lines of “Do you me to get you a shovel?”.

        This is not considered “normal” for polite company. She was a squid, so it was borderline.

      1. Didn’t you just hate it when they tightened up the sales restrictions on arsenic and such-like? It was easier when you just signed the poison log at the drug store attesting that it was for killing vermin . . . What? Why are you looking at me like that?

        1. My dad had a bag of pesticide for potato bugs that he only referred to as “Arsenic of Lead” or something like that. I wonder if that’s hiding in his shed somewhere…

          1. *sniffs* I’m just returning the favor after SOMEONE dropped a little bug on the piece about place names that may turn into at least two books. So there. Thppppth. 😛

            1. Well, that picture of the teddy bear with the sword and shield percolated around my brain to provide a story, so pfft.

        2. The problem with the killing vermin explanatiion is that the Democrat Party was losing too many of its voters, ward-heelers and politicians.

          1. The democrats have never lost a voter to arsenic. In fact, they have gained many that never voted for them til after poisoning

        3. There are plenty of decorative plants which could be used in interesting ways. And even more you can just find growing in a ditch somewhere. Not to mention mushrooms. 🙂

  15. I had an employer tell me ‘You know what your problem is? You are a dreamer!’

    My first thought was, what is wrong with that? What I said was, You are right sir. I’ll get back to work, sir. It didn’t matter, I was fired anyway.

    So I would try to do what I thought was right, and get in trouble for that. Then I would do exactly what I was told to do, and got in trouble for that.

    So when I retired, I did nothing for a very long time.

    Now, I have an imaginary world to play in, and I spend most of my time pacing the short hallway imagining what life would be like in the world where I make the rules.

    1. You have my sympathies. I wouldn’t mind finding the world where I make the rules, either – although given the way my mind works, it would probably suck harder than a black hole.

    2. One phrase that I have hated since I first ever heard it: “You’re not being paid to think!”

  16. “So when I retired, I did nothing for a very long time”

    I am in that mode right now.
    I thought I would miss the job, but I don’t, not in the least.

    1. I just need those bastards at the lottery to draw my numbers. They keep ignoring them, damn it.

  17. I spent a day at a local high school last week being a Tame Author for the kids. One of them asked the perennial “how do you come up with ideas” question and I deployed my full weapons-grade imagination on them with a live demo of the “three nouns” story starter. They came up with the Seahawks, Spongebob, and Paris. By the time I was done I had dragged in the Cousteau society and a government edict that forbade imaginary mascots for sports teams, on pain of confiscation of items displaying said logo (thus causing vast swaths of nudity in Seattle…). In less than three minutes. They liked it so much I did it again. *That* one involved dream analysis of a dialogue between Bugs Bunny and Shakespeare (to mutual incomprehension due to Brooklyn and Elizabethan English accents). I think they got the general idea 😀 (cackles evilly).

    1. That’s basically improv training. Back a dozen years or so, at ConJose, there was a panel called “Improv Storytelling” that included Tad Williams, Terry Pratchett, Phil Foglio, and a little-known writer whose name I’ve currently forgotten but who was very, very good at it. In ironic fashion, nobody had told the panelists exactly what they were supposed to be doing, so I (having done years of improv in college) suggested that they do a pass-the-mic story using suggestions from the audience, which they did. Using ALL of them, including a spider-alien detective, nuns on motorcycles, a slug bisected on the salted rim of a tequila glass, Bakersfield, and mine, which was “a three-year-old with a kitten and a detonator.”

      The great crime was that nobody recorded this (a couple of years before the advent of the iPhone and ubiquitous video recording.) At the end, they each came up with a title suggestion; Tad Williams’ was “Sixty Minutes of Hell.”

      Damn, now I want a time machine again.

  18. Hmm. Maybe that’s why my sister said I’m weird when I was wondering what happens to werewolves on planets with more than one moon.

    1. Probably. And planets with more than one moon would cause some really fun issues for werewolves. I mean, would the go *really* wolfy when more than one moon is full at the same time? Would they turn more strongly for one moon than another?

      Oh, the possibilities…

      And then there’s an Earthly werewolf transported to the new planet….

      1. Harry Turtledove did that in a quasi germanic setting with a quasi Rome. seven i believe moons. most alignments allowed for a little more hirsutness than usual I believe. one alignment pulled anyone with any were blood at all even a few drops of ancestry. Cant remember off the top of my head but one of the omnibusses was Wisdom Of The Fox\

        1. The original book was “Werenight” and it is in the omni “Wisdom Of The Fox”. Oh, there was an event either in Werenight or mentioned in Werenight of this naked man who barged into a dwelling (on of these “Werenights” and in the morning this bear tried to get out of the dwelling. Apparently the “man” was actually a bear who turned into a man on those weird occasions. [Very Big Grin]

    2. Depends on the Werewolf. For some types of Werewolves, Full Moon nights are no different than any other nights except that on Full Moon nights humans are more likely to see them. [Wink]

    3. There was a DC horror comic that had a story about a Werewolf astronaut who didn’t want to do a trip to the Moon when the Moon was full. While he managed to arrange that, he had a minor problem when orbiting the Moon. Still he made it down to the Lunar surface OK until he found out that a Full Earth caused him to turn. Of course, the lack of air on the Moon did him in before he killed his fellow astronaut. [Very Big Grin]

    4. What happens when the artificial moon regulating the werewolf-ness of the planet’s inhabitants goes wonky?

    5. Oh really now! (As evidenced by adjacent responses) Who hasn’t wondered about that? That one is almost as obvious an issue as Zoroastrian vampires.

        1. Depends on the nature of vampirism. Does the vampire respond to the symbols of the faith it had when alive? Does it react to the faith of the wielder of the symbol? Is the original person gone, with the body animated by a demon who would, presumably, react to holy symbols of whatever faith was opposed to the demon itself? That last one can lead to fun as devout believers find out that the demon is only deterred by symbols of some other faith:-P.

          The mere existence of vampires would lead the honest unbeliever to question his faith or lack thereof (it would for me anyway), especially if any of the symbolic tools against vampirism actually affected him.

          1. Vampires being freaked out by crucifixes makes sense– He who gave Him own blood to grant eternal life to others, let Himself die and pulled them up with Him is the opposite of they who take other’s blood so they can chase eternal life, pulling their victims down with them. (Ditto the Consecrated Host.)

            Ying-yang symbol, though? Crescent moon? Star of David? *spreads hands* Why? Unless it is just a demon, a possessed corpse– then then anything blessed would work, or you could create a system of Strangely Specific Demons or something…..

            1. I rather like the idea of faith being the reason. Both faith which the now vampire may have had when alive, perhaps seeing the holy symbol of its faith reminds it what it has lost when becoming a vampire and that is so painful that it does run. Or maybe it would work because when the vampire died and became a vampire even if he had been an atheist or agnostic or otherwise materialist while alive it did also find out that there is an afterlife, and a deity, and the religious people with faith were actually right, at least in some ways, and now it is banned from that and being reminded of that physically hurts it.

              And if the faith of the person fielding the symbol is required, in which case it would perhaps work only if said person has genuine faith, and a genuine connection to what the symbol represents. So if you would have, lets say, a seemingly religious person but one who is a hypocrite and has no genuine faith it wouldn’t work, while one who has given up on churches and external signs of religion but still has faith, maybe faith he no longer himself realizes is there, would get the desired result with a cross or anything else.

              That latter alternative would make it interesting for the human. He wouldn’t really know until the first time he tried, there would always be at least some doubt with most persons.

              1. So long as you realize that under those terms the almighty dollar could be a holy symbol

              2. There was a Doctor Who episode (7th Doc, IIRC) that featured vampire-like creatures who were repulsed by any sort of faith.

            2. Plot bunny — free to a good home — crucifixes work. Only crucifixes work. At one point a vampire says that this is because it’s psychological terrorism; they KNOW everyone would avoid death as they do, and it’s just terrorism to claim that someone would voluntarily die — rather hysterically, so you can believe it or not.

  19. I think the truest answer for “Where do you get your ideas?” is that writers in particular have ideas that are the result of the collision of concepts. For instance, I am absolutely convinced that Terry Pratchett came up with the Nac Mac Feegle after the Smurfs and Braveheart collided in his head. (For one thing, look at the gender setup.)

    There was one time in college when I was in a car and the people in the front were discussing something and one of them said, “Taxidermy.” We happened to be passing a tux shop right then, so my brain thought, “Tuxidermy?” And then it went on to, “Of course; that’s where they make stuffed shirts.”

    My family puns in self-defense.

    1. I think ‘where’ is the wrong question, that it is better to ask ‘How?’

      I think there is a difference of maybe degree, but not kind between finding ideas for stories and finding ideas for equipment or what to eat.

      “What if we combined a tiller and a sower?”

  20. In a bid to try get me to relax, Rhys recently bundled me into the couch in a nest of pillows, and we watched A Study in Pink (Pilot episode of Sherlock), because I’d heard one too many times variations of “Is what you’re doing really so important?” (Yes, the Mundanes don’t get it.)

    The following quotes from the episode describe rather accurately how I often feel, if trying to talk to non-writers… or even people who aren’t passionate about anything… about writing:

    “Oh, look at you lot. You’re all so vacant. Is it nice not being me? It must be so relaxing.”
    “Dear God, what is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring!”
    — Sherlock

    Most folk don’t get that to …me… anyway, the stories come to life in my mind, as much as the characters do. They have the ability to grumble at me in my own imagination, or laugh, or protest. This has always been, to me, the key to a thoroughly enjoyable story. If you stop seeing just the words, and can imagine everything in your head, then the characters are now ‘alive’ in your imagination as a reader.

    Why should it be any different for the author?

      1. This is the edited version. The first version, suggested that you UNDERPAY the creative types. Which raised a shitstorm. So the Author edited that part. But I think the sentiment in our glorious leader types remains.

    1. Can I just say that the advice to give trivial or meaningless tasks to non-creatives was one of the worst parts of the article?
      If something is a trivial or meaningless task, no one should be assigned to it at all.

  21. “There’s always that lingering question on my end of whether I’ve gone too far, which always buggers up my judgment.”

    Don’t bugger your judgment without a very good reason; you’ll never be able to fully trust it afterwards.

  22. Carl Jung once wrote/said that the “contents” of the unconscious that overwhelm the mentally ill are exactly the same as the ones assimilated by a healthy person in the process of “individuation” (psychological growth and maturity).
    Not similar; not related to or sort-of like; the same identical stuff.

    In other words, it’s not what you get, it’s what you do with it.

    And though it seems a pretty unforgiving choice — you own it, or it owns you — it’s not really all that different from our everyday choice when getting a knife out of the kitchen drawer: do I hold it by the handle and use the blade, or try it the other way around? (I will in charity pass over the non-dilemma involved for those whose own imaginations really are just about as sharp both ways. And how our society does a much worse job teaching us about any of this than how to work and play with actual knives.)

    From his viewpoint, too, though it may be strange to deal with this stuff, while it might even seem a lot like schizophrenia or some less severe mental disorder — if you can use it creatively, deal with it in an effective and useful everyday way — then from this viewpoint, you’re not just as sane and functional and not-crazy as “everyone else” is…

    You’re actually more so. Ahead of the hypo-active-imagination masses or Muggles or whatever else we might want to call them, farther down the road than they are.
    Ain’t that somethin’?

    “Hyper-Imagine your way to inner growth”(™), anyone?

    1. I daresay Jung got that one right and it will be demonstrated at some point in the future when (if) psychiatry and psychology move out of the realms of “throw stuff at it until something works” and not-quite-voodoo (not trying to offend anyone in those fields – it’s just that there’s still so much to be learned that the science is at the bare beginnings right now).

      It doesn’t matter what people deal with, imaginations, jobs, kitchen knives, you own them or they own you. And if you can’t control a really sharp imagination it is possible to channel it in ways that aren’t damaging to you or to other people.

      I honestly think that damn near anyone who’s intelligent and creative enough could get a mental illness diagnosis that was more or less accurate. Is that helpful? Hell no. Why diagnose if someone is capable of dealing with life? It’s only when someone can’t juggle what’s happening inside their head and what’s happening in the world at large that a mental illness diagnosis has any value, and that’s mainly for finding the kind of treatments that might be helpful.

      That slogan could make you untold $$$ if you were sufficiently unscrupulous to use it to sell a handy-dandy line of bullshit.

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