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Did You ever have an Imaginary Friend?

 Annalisa Crawford and Kyra Lennon are hosting the Imaginary Friend Bloghop and this is what it involves: 

We want to know about your imaginary friend. What were they
called? How old were you? Were they naughty or nice? If you didn’t have
one, were there ever times when you could really have used one? Did you
ever set fire to your mum’s favourite rug and have to take the blame

As a child, I had a lot of imaginary friends, most of them from books I read. Can’t remember most, but one of them stayed a friend well into my teenage: this was Pip from Great Expectations.

I read the unabridged version of the novel when I was about 10 or 11, and though there were bits I didn’t understand, I immediately sympathized with this awkward kid, because I was an awkward kid myself. I loved books, and little else, so I had few real friends — Pip became my constant companion for months, and years.

He was shy, he had ambition, he had a crush on an impossible beautiful and unreachable girl. He had delusions about receiving the patronage of said girl’s guardian, and later realized that instead he was supported by a convict he’d helped escape. I cried at his shame, and smiled at his triumphs. I wondered whether he got the girl after all — because I couldn’t figure out the ending and was too shy to ask anyone.

Since I knew all his troubles and secrets, I only thought it fit he know mine, and I wrote him letters in my diary.

 I don’t know if he was imaginary, though.

To me he was real — with his hair that wouldn’t behave (quite similar to mine), his desire to get away from his small village and go to the big city, and his difficult relationship with the parent figures in his life. He was an orphan, I wasn’t, but there were days I felt there wasn’t much difference.
Did you have an imaginary friend, growing up?

And have you signed up for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • I had an imaginary friend called Hannigan Pod, don't ask me where the name came from? that was just what he was called and I remember crying one day because he left and didn't come back, apparently I was quite distressed about it and wet my bed.
    Two weeks later we moved to a new house and there he was waiting on the steps for me, happiest time of my childhood.
    I don't know if he was real or imagined, he seemed pretty real and we did a lot of naughty stuff that I always got in trouble for, even though I blamed him for everything Haha.
    I had a rather vivid imagination as a child and Hannigan and I were always looking for fairies and pixies in bushes and tree hollows, but I can say I had a magical childhood. Now as an adult I write for 8-12 year old children and Hannigan Pod is a main character in my first published book 'Pumkiniah the brave' So he's still kind of with me and now he takes me on adventures that I write down for others to enjoy.

  • Pam Margolis says:

    poor Pip. The PBS version was enjoyable also.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. I've been swamped by my writing, so online time has been hard to come by.

    Mukhtiar, I hope you read the blog post announcing the sign-ups — the idea was to sign up your blog, and not a particular post. In April, all participants in the A to Z challenge list will post 26 times on 26 days, based on the calendar also linked below the sign up list.

    Your link has appeared at No.506 on the list — we'll have to correct the link to make it go back to your blog and not one particular post. Hope you enjoy the challenge.

  • Jill Haugh says:

    Hi. NIce to meet you and your imaginary friend. My friend from literature was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'd always have such fun thinking of how I would show her our bath-tub, or the phone, or the fridge, other such modern marvels. Good post. Feel free to stop 'round my nut-tree some time if you'd like.
    ~Just Jill

  • Pip would have been a great imaginary friend!

  • Thanks for sharing

  • Pip! What a friend to have. Thanks for sharing!

  • Funny how real characters can become in our minds. Wonderful entry.

  • Mina Lobo says:

    I think I had imaginary boyfriends…Oh, you mean when I was a *kid*. Tsk, silly me. 😉

  • M Pax says:

    Neat that yours were based from books. I would have loved to have been Pippi Longstocking's BFF.

  • Rena says:

    I guess I sort of had an imaginary friend, but he was supposed to be the prince that would sweep me off my feet. Anyhow, it didn't work out between us, you know, I had to move on with my life. I'm thinking about resurrecting him into a book though…

  • I did, but ever practical I realized I couldn't see said friend, so I decided it must be a brain cell. I'm not kidding. And I was eight.

  • Devin Dahl says:

    I liked your post, because although I never had an imaginary friend, I read the book Great Expectations at a young age, too, and immediately bonded with Pip. I think he is Dickens' greatest character, though perhaps one of the blandest, because his very lack of definition is what makes him so relatable. Glad to see that he means a lot to someone else, too. 🙂

  • Kyra Lennon says:

    Excellent post! I think a lot of people probably had imaginary friends that came from books, and Pip is a great choice!

    Thanks for being part of the bloghop!

  • Interesting choice for imaginary friend! He came built in with a background and everything.

  • Jo says:

    Yes, it was a ghost called Pinky.

    Pip came from the village where I lived, and the convict was met in the churchyard where I first got married. Miss Haversham's house is still there and I have toured it, its in Rochester, Kent.

  • Nick Wilford says:

    He sounds like a great friend! Funny, I never thought about people in books I read being friends. And it reminds me I need to read this book – I've only seen a TV version.

  • How cool to befriend a literary character like that. Writing letters to him is a lovely idea. Thanks for taking part 🙂

  • When I was five or six I had an imaginary friend named Joseph. My parents had to set a place at the dinner table for him. I don't remember much about him.

  • Al Diaz says:

    I have not read the book yet but I used to talk with protagonists of stories that stuck with me. Mostly when I was little. Now I talk with the characters of my books. 🙂

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