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Imaginary friends

The only writer's block I have
I saw a lovely quote a couple of days ago (thanks to Lynn Price of Behler Publishing). It was along the lines of 'Writer's block - when even your imaginary friends won't talk to you.' It's partly such a clever line, but also, for me, emphasizes the fictional nature of writer's block. You can always write - not necessarily at your best, but that's what editing is for.

However, the reason I brought it up here was a completely different reason. A few weeks ago we went to see the comedian Chris Addison (the one behind the desk in the Direct Line adverts for UK readers). I'd never been to an evening of pure standup, so wondered if it could hold up for a whole show (after all, the likes of 'Live at the Apollo' are heavily edited so you only see the best bits). In fact it could, and he was great.

Addison seemed particularly lucky with his audience. He asked the audience a couple of questions and hit rich seams both times. On one of these occasions he asked if anyone had lied to their children. The story that emerged, about an imaginary friend, is just wonderful and worth repeating.

The woman who answered said that one of her children had an imaginary friend, and his younger sister was upset because she too wanted an imaginary friend, but hadn't got one. The mother switched into 'lie' mode and said 'That's not a problem, darling. I'm going to give you an imaginary friend.' And she put out her hands and picked up a chunk of air and passed it to the little girl.

She had expected a postive reaction. But the girl stared at the space in front of her and burst into tears. 'What's the matter?' asked the mother.

The girl managed to speak through her sobs. 'But I didn't wan't a parrot!' she said.

You really couldn't make it up.


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