Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Invisible Man

This is monster month and I've been focusing on some of the meanest writer monsters. Today I'm going to switch gears and talk about a good monster.

The Invisible Man doesn't seem like a monster, but if he's good enough to be included in The Hotel Transylvania, he's good enough for this blog.

It just so happens we have a serious case of Invisible Man-itis. Child #2 has a mysterious friend named Leo Lyon (every part of me loves the Freudian nature of the last name, not to mention the double Lion reference).

Child #2 "met" Leo Lyon at a camp he attended several years ago. Since that time he and Leo have kept in close contact through email correspondance that is always deleted moments after it has been read.

Leo Lyon lives in Washington, D.C. His parents are fabulously wealthy spies. Leo's mother is pretty, but not as pretty as me and his dad is smart, but not as smart as Child #2's.

The Lyon's reside in a twelve story mansion with nine hamsters, six cats and ten dogs. Leo has an older sister named Ella. Both Leo and Ella are the smartest kids in their unspecified Washington, D.C. neighborhood. For this reason they attend "grown-up science school" and are experts in almost every subject that comes up at our dinner table. They are also the owners of an experimental vehicle that turns into a boat or an airplane and have been to the moon.

Some parents might discourage their children's invisible friend, but the writer in me just can't bear to put the kebash on Child #2's creativity and thorough attention to plot holes.

"Why didn't I ever meet Leo Lyon's mother?" I asked one day.

"She came on the day you didn't drive car pool." His response was immediate, no wavering at all.

"How did you email each other before you had an email account?" asked his sister.

"I sneaked and used mom's when she wasn't looking," he explained.

And so it goes. Leo's life is colorful, full of robots, riches and sporting triumphs. Ours, slightly less so.

Child #1 and I have taken to sharing a secret smile whenever we are regaled with stories about the ever fabulous Leo and Ella. We know Leo Lyon is as real as Santa Claus, but that doesn't stop us from enjoying the Lyon family exploits.

And isn't that the point of the "Invisible Men" most of us create. Writers create, spin yarns, therapize their issues and, if we do it right, we manage to entertain in the process. The difference between fact and fiction, well, hopefully we'll get that sorted out before we set Child #2 and his Lyin' Lions loose on the world at large.


Rachel Schieffelbein said...

That is awesome. I love that sort of creativity in kids.
For a while my son, John, had an imaginary brother he named Jack. It was cute. But when he told his pre-school teacher he and his dad had visited said brother at Jack's house I did have to explain that it was an imaginary friend. My husband did not, in fact, have a second family elsewhere.

Connie J Jasperson said...

That is awesome! My oldest daughter had an invisible friend, 'Dorfa'. When something inadvertently happened, it was usually Dorfa who had done it. Now my daughter is 39 and writing a first novel!

jaybird said...

I always encourage creativity! I would be all over those Leo Lyon stories.

My daughter Francesca's imaginary friend is named Vivienne and is from France, LOL. (She just happened to appear right around the time Francesca discovered her first Madeline book) A few days after she started "playing" with Vivienne, my daughter asked me if she could take French lessons, in order to speak more fluently to her friend!!

The Husband and I decided, hmm, maybe there are some advantages to this imaginary friend thing!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think it's wonderful that your child tells you about his invisible friend. When I was a kid, I kept my invisible friend secret from everyone else; it helped just to imagine that she was there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like he is creating a very intricate story! Let him believe. And ask if the hamsters have been to the moon.

Katie O'Sullivan said...

Love this story - and that you let him go on with it! You should write down his narratives for later...

When my son was 2, he had an invisible friend who was a horse named Lucy. And she was green, even though she was invisible. I wish I had written down all the stories he used to tell about their adventures - I would love to be able to go back through them now ;-)

Kelley Lynn said...

Definitely don't 'put the kebash' on this! Too cute!

I didn't have an imaginary friends when I was little but I played pretend ALL the time. So important for a child :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your son regales you with some wonderful tales of his imaginary friend and the family. I do hope you are writing these down. Your son could be a budding writing.

Shell Flower said...

Leo Lyon sounds like a great MC for a Middle Grade novel.

Unknown said...

Child #2 sounds like he's got more creative thinking than a lot of adults!

Ella said...

I love that you are embracing his imagination! Mine son wanted to build a robot. I actually took him shopping in a hardware store for parts. I bought him a robotic hand for Christmas...the whole deal!
I love it and that you shared! Our imaginations are such a great escape!

I loved science as a child, I was the only girl who got an A in Lab Biology. I even beat my brother's notable score!

My real name is Ella Lyons. Yes, I am Leo's Mom-so nice to meet finally meet you! ;D Yes, my daughter shares my name~

Barbara Watson said...

Love that uninhibited creativity!

Tonja said...

Love it!!!!

Misha Gerrick said...

Awe that's so sweet! I've have at least one imaginary friend all the way through my childhood.

Still do, come to think about it, but now they're my characters, as you said.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Well Johanna,

Child #2 certainly has the making of a very creative writer. Seems to spin these stories without batting an eyelash...

Good for both of you! I love imagination. So many kids lack it because of their obsession with electronics. Nice to see kids still have a passion for creativity.

Carol Kilgore said...

Perhaps I could borrow Child #1 to fix a current plot problem.....

Johanna Garth said...

Rachel, the idea that you had to explain that made me giggle.

Connie, the name Dorfa is so perfect!

Jaybird, such a cool and unexpected benefit to the imaginary friend thing.

Neurotic, Child #2 is not good at keeping secrets :)

Alex, I did and he said not yet.

Katie, you're right. I need to be writing them down.

Kelly, completely agree.

Susanne, yes, that or a "ladies doctor" which is his current goal.

Shell, so true!

Caitlin, I think so many kids do.

Ella, you're comment made me lol. Nice to meet you too Leo's mom!!

Thanks Barbara and Tonja!

Misha, if I could get him to sit at a computer he might have a novel in him.

Michael, he is sadly obsessed with electronics too, but I'm glad they haven't obliterated all the other creativity.

Carol, absolutely. I'm sure he'd LOVE to!!

jenny milchman said...

I love his imagination!! (And yours :)

Sabrina A. Fish said...

Sounds like he has the making of a kids novel similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.