Shoulder Angels, Part 2

Last week, I was thinking about the shoulder angel-genius and her demanding monkey-demon counterpart. Now I’ve decided that I have a whole group of beings weighing down my one shoulder. I call them The Committee. They are not mischievous or evil. Just trying to do their job — keeping me safe from risk-taking, ever vigilant, never off-duty.

Watcher has to look at everything: read, scan, observe till my eyes won’t stay open any more. Then Listener says, don’t worry, I’ll take over, and plugs in the radio or a story on the iPhone at 11 P.M. When the sound starts melting, Jitter takes the helm and vows to keep me alert with random itches that get more and more insistent if I don’t wake up enough to scratch. During the day, Muncher and Winer insist that food and drink with bring comfort to any situation. This is especially true if Wahhhnda — the thin-skinned one — is bawling over a threat of disapproval from someone she’s never met. Or curled in a knot, begging me to throw in the towel on a project because Joker is announcing that it’s a ridiculous mockery of creative work.

They can be very demanding. Who balances the other shoulder?

I’m now calling my genius-angel The Partner. I like that term. It’s not hierarchical, but can be used mystically, should I ever decide to “walk with Jesus.” It does reflect my actual experience in life, where my peak creative experiences have always been done in tandem with someone who expressed perfect trust in me, that I would perform amazingly, that of course I’d never let them down — someone who was also on their own creative quest, who sees their work in tandem with mine.

I like it when the spirit of The Partner has been manifested in real people — my parents, Jim, Pat and others who believed in me along the way and gave my talents a boost. But sometimes The Partner has to be the invisible friend, the imaginary playmate, who can shush the chattering of The Committee.

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