An imaginary conversation about the overactive imagination

Sometimes when I’m reading your book, it’s hard for me to separate the main character from you.

That’s normal, I guess. He is based on me. But he’s fictional.

Yeah but when he’s checking to make sure the doors are locked and the coffee maker is off, that’s doesn’t have the same impact on me as when he’s screwing the stripper.

Also normal, sweetheart.

I suppose, but I can’t say I like those parts.

I understand. It’s mostly imaginary though, and you don’t need to worry about those parts.

But I do have kind of an overactive imagination. I can’t help it. I don’t like it when the fictional version of  you fucks imaginary strippers.

Not everything is totally fabricated in the book though.

That statement didn’t help my overactive imagination at all.

That’s why you need to write.

To get all the imagining out of my system?

Yeah. Put it on paper instead of letting it take over your brain!

Given that they don’t have Overactive Imagination Anonymous, it’s either writing or the asylum.

You aren’t crazy. Much.


No. Just a little nutty around the edges. In a good way. It’s your creativity leaking out.

You say the nicest things…

Because you’re full of great things. Like your imagination.

You don’t think I need Overactive Imagination Anonymous?

Only you would even think of such a thing.


It’s a good thing. You could make up a whole story about it.

No one would want to read a story about Overactive Imagination rehab.

I bet they would!

What would the 12 steps for that look like?

It’s YOUR overactive imagination rehab, you tell me!

If I was imagining it, I’d make it imaginary rehab that you only had to go to in your own mind because I wouldn’t want to have to drive to any meetings.

Wouldn’t that be cheating?

Not if you imagined it honestly.

Well, who would call you out on it if you were being dishonest?

Your counselors.

In  imaginary imagination rehab.


There are counselors?

There would have to be. Otherwise, who would rehab you?

You would.



It’s complicated, because it’s imaginary and for the imagination both at the same time.


Should I explain it some more?

I’m not sure.

Fuck yes, or it’s no!

Then fuck yes!

Hmmm. That seems like it might be insincere.

No, I’m really curious. In the 12 step program for Overactive Imaginations Anonymous, what would the steps be?

The first step is pretty straightforward, and just carries over from any other 12 step program:  admit that you are  powerless over your imagination and that your life has become unmanageable.

A good start.

I have problems with the second step.

Why is that?

It’s the one about a higher power. I don’t believe there is one, or that (s)he can restore me to sanity.

What will you have instead?

Believe that you yourself have the power  to restore your own sanity.

Interesting. So even though you are powerless in step one, you regain some control in step two.

Yeah. Step three is also a problem, because it’s turning your life over to that higher power I don’t believe in.


So MY step three would be to make a decision to turn your power over to your own self to direct your imagination in more creative, productive and positive directions.

So you aren’t saying that you should cut it off.

No, just not to waste the energy worrying.

OK. And step 4?

Steps 4-10 are essentially the same as the traditional ones: moral inventory of yourself, admitting the nature of your wrongs, being ready to correct your own flaws and willing to do the work, making a list of the people you’ve harmed and making amends…continuing that process on an ongoing basis.

How is this different from any other self help schtick?

It isn’t. It’s not magic, it’s just self improvement 101.

Carry on. So you’re on step 11.

Thank you. That is to seek to improve self awareness through thought and directed imagination in order to gain the power to continue to direct your imagination in those previously discussed productive, creative and positive directions.

Using your own imagination to combat its own pernicious tendencies? Nice. And lastly?

It’s really sexy that you just used the word pernicious in conversation.

Let’s try to stay on track here.

Right. Lastly, we try to spread that message to other people suffering from overactive imaginations and to practice these principles daily in our lives.

Doesn’t that seem…

Like a bunch of hooey?




But not as much of a bunch of hooey as some of the other 12 steps. Personally, I think turning your troubles over to someone else is just asking to absolve yourself of responsibility.

You think it’s all on you?

Yes and no.


Well, sometimes we all need help from friends and family. But in general we should be trying to become better grownups.

And grownups are responsible for their own imaginations.

And by extension, their lives.

I have to apologize.

About what?

I thought you pulled this whole theory out of your ass.

You mean that I’d never given it much thought?


You thought that the person with the overactive imagination wouldn’t have given some thought about what the new and improved 12 step program would be? Really?

You’re impressively weird sometimes.


I meant it as a compliment.

I know. That’s why I thanked you.

What else do you use your imagination for?

Work scenarios. Rewriting the past. Sex.

Do tell?

It’s more of a hands on demo.

Are you sure you need to correct your overactive imagination?

You let me know what you think after the demo!