the imagination is a wonderful thing.

the imagination is a spectacular little treasure as long as it's helping us write our books. as long as we're typing away like crazy people, locked up in our rooms, trying to convince the cats and the kids to leave us alone long enough to finish a sentence, the imagination enables us to live in an alternate universe without ever having to be abducted by aliens. it teaches us how to expand our horizons -- how to see past the confines of human limitations -- without ever resorting to hard drugs! we are superhuman! prodigal! we write books! we read books!

we are a special breed, indeed. 
sometimes we rhyme without even intending to.

and yet. despite its many splendid ways, the human imagination has a dark side. it's like Darth Vader showing up to your 16th birthday party wearing a unicorn mask and you totally think he's a unicorn until he's all LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER* and i definitely didn't pay child support all these years so maybe don't tell anyone about this? and you're so shocked he's not a unicorn that you fail to point out that your name isn't even Luke.

the imagination is tricky like that.

sure, maybe you see glimpses of the dark side of your imagination while you're writing the book, but the moment you finish? the moment you finish the book is the moment your imagination really turns on you. all of a sudden it's cutting off your arm with this weird laser sword and talking to you in this breathy robotic voice about your origins and you're screaming (maybe because of the arm thing, not sure) and it all kind of spirals downward from there.

your imagination is shouting things like YOUR BOOK SUCKS! and NO ONE WILL LOVE YOU! this isn't a business, IT'S TOTALLY PERSONAL! and here are ALL OF THE THINGS i've imagined people will say about how much YOUR BOOK SUCKS! and it totally sucks DID I MENTION THAT YET?

and then you'll fight it off and fight it off and then you'll send your manuscript to beta readers and then what? then the imagination is back again! imagining in your mind exactly how horrible your writing really is and just how much your beta readers hate your book and OMG YOU FORGOT TO PUT A PLOT IN THE STORY and before you know it your head is stuffed full of nonsense and ridiculousness and everything feels sticky.

and you'll fight it off.

and then it comes time for revision and there you go again, imagining things that have nothing to do with the success of your novel. suddenly you're imagining how you'll never be able to fix this book, how you'll never be able to edit it properly, how you'll never land an agent or a book deal and then you imagine yourself alone in your neighbors' attic, surrounded by 27 cats who all fall asleep on your face one night and suffocate you in your sleep. all because of your imagination.

and then you fight it off.

and then you have an agent and your imagination freaks you the hell out about being on submission and you can't sleep or eat or use the bathroom anymore and things are really starting to get uncomfortable and you don't know what to do so you just imagine some more. and you imagine so much that you never fall asleep and then you wake up exhausted and spend the day imagining what it would be like to sleep and THIS STUPID IMAGINATION JUST WON'T LEAVE YOU THE HELL ALONE

and then you realize you and your imagination need to be in an open relationship where you are actively seeing other people, namely your therapist and your priest. 


i've seen a lot of writers go through this -- we've all gone through this.
but i want to remind you that you can imagine anything in the world. 
which means that you can imagine yourself imagining away your fear, too.

happy tuesday, my friends.

don't be afraid of your imagination.
don't be afraid to be awesome.

also i hope you sucker punch your imagination in the eyeball.


*okay, so i actually watched this part of the movie? and he doesn't even say, "Luke, I am your father." he just says, "I am your father." so i don't know where the "Luke" part of this famous line came from.


maine character said...

Yep. If I don't use my imagination on something, it always turns on me. Obi-Wan knew this to be true.

Misha said...

lol this is so true. darn breathy voiced imagination. sigh.

Clare C. Greenstreet said...

Just got a very strange image of Darth Vader as a unicon!

Sarah said...

This is lovely. In therapy with children we call the Darth Vader imagination the "sneaky brain", and kids have to learn to talk back to it because it's a bully. Adult cognitive therapy is often the same way. However, I'm wondering if folks would get more engaged if I suggested they talk back to DV instead. More catchy, with the possibility of light sabers.

Girl Friday said...

Heart this blog so much.

Also, word verification: covely - covertly lovely, obv.

Matthew Rush said...

WHAT? I HAVE an AGENT? Who is he? And where is my money?

RobynBradley said...

I think you should turn "don't be afraid of your imagination" into a T-shirt or bumper sticker or button or all three. :)

Becky Taylor said...

As I am going out on submission this week--THIS WEEK--this is exactly what I needed to read!

Thank you. My brain thanks you. My appetite thanks you. My stretch of seven years with no cigarettes thanks you. Mostly, my husband thanks you.

Jaleh D said...

I totally LOLed at the sucker punching your imagination in the eyeball. POW POW! Take that for giving me a Shiny New Idea instead of inspiration for one of my existing stories. :D

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

How sad is it that I've never seen Star Wars? I know, go ahead and throw something at me.

Yay for imagination! I'm gonna sucker punch any bad thoughts this year. :)

Tom M Franklin said...

this is both So Wrong and yet So Funny.

thanks for making my morning with this!

-- Tom

Tracey Neithercott said...

Hilarious, as always.

Also, I think there's a story in there. I think the title would be DARTH VADER, UNICORN (BUT NOT REALLY)

Dawn said...

I'd buy the T-shirt or bumper sticker mentioned in comments above :-P

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

I hear Vader goes around saying that to everybody. "Bob, I am your father." "Katherine, I am your father."

So in retrospect it was better to clarify.

Melody said...

This was helpful, encouraging, and laugh-out-loud funny! Thanks, Tahereh!

Mia Hayson said...

Thank you for this! I totally forgot I can imagine away things too :)

And that 27 cats thing? You READ MY MIND.

lbdiamond said...

Yeah, so I need to print this out and read it EVERY. DAY.

Thank you for socking it to my imagination. She needed the beating, LOL!


The Las Vegas Writer said...

Oh, a light in the dark! You're awesome.

Katie said...

Hilarious. And so true ... * sigh *

Caitlin R. O'Connell said...

Oh so very true.


E. Elle said...

Yeah, uh, I should know better than to read your blog when I'm at work.

Super great post, as usual. And I love the idea of suckerpunching my imagination!

Although I imagine my imagination would then turn on me....

Marsha Sigman said...

Now I can't get the whole Darth Vadar Unicorn thing out of my head.

Taryn Tyler said...

Eeek. I'm trying to fight those off right now. Thanks for the encouragement.

Kari said...

welcome back!

I like the new blog header. (actually, I've been kinda awol, so I don't know if it's really new, but I'm going to assume it is...and if it's not, sorry!)

SM Schmidt said...

I just noticed one of the labels on this post was I'm off to eat a crayon now. It sent the piffy comment I had out my head and instead concern that you are actually going to eat a crayon. Crayons and tummies are not besties. Unless it's a chocolate crayon then its okay.

Parisa said...

thanks for the sucker-punch in the imagination, it was very much needed!

Leslie Rose said...

Imagination...Come over to the dark side. We have chocolate.

Alleged Author said...

Any post that cites Darth Vader is A-OKAY with me! Great post!

Brandi Guthrie-Sellers said...

I like imagining that my imagination is like Darth Vader. :)

Jordyn said...

The LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER thing is kind of like how nobody ever actually says the words SCOTTY, BEAM ME UP! in Star Trek. It's like a non-line line. HAHAHA.

also i love star trek.
also i love this blog post.
also i love all of your blog posts.
also my imagination needs a srs sucker punch to the eyeball today.

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