The Imagination Will Set You Free
I had a patient who was confined to home her entire adult life. Before the Internet she had a good life and many friends from all over the County, but after the Internet came in, she extended her connections around the world. She could describe Australia better than many people who had been there.
She was an early book editor for me and even inspired the character Mason Marley. I would send her chapters by e-mail and she would read them and send back suggestions. She once told me the installments reminded her of the eager anticipation of the “Saturday Evening Post’ as a child.
She especially loved to help embellish Mason Marley. “Oh, have her smoke a cigar here, Bibey.”
“C’mon Mason, you don’t smoke.”
“I can’t in real life ’cause of my lungs but I can in fiction.”
She wrote a book herself and had a lot of good advice on agents, editors, and lawyers that I follow to this day. My only regret is the process is so long. I would have given anything to be able to hand her a signed copy.
I used to ask her about confidentiality. “You know, as your doc, I’m supposed to protect your privacy. I worry a little about this. I’m afraid people will figure out who you are, or least who inspired the character.”
“Oh Bibey, you are such a silly boy. I hope you tell the whole world.”
When I finally get around to that, I’m gonna tell you about her book too. She was one of the most special human beings I’ve ever known. She knew the imagination had no limits to unlock a life of grace and dignity. She showed me how every time I visited her.
Before she died I had not only permission but her encouragement to tell her story. Mason understood with literature we can have a bit of immortality, and she cheered me on towards the finish line at every visit. When I get there, much of the credit is to her.