On Before the Cult

On Before the Cult : Naming the Characters

It may surprise a lot of you, but I really did not name the main characters in this novel. This means I did not sit down and come up with names for them, I knew these characters. When they came to me they already had their own names and all I had to do was get to know them.
Let me start with the simple ones, Macfearson and Macxermillio. I have known them as, wait for it, imaginary friends from 2004. I met Macxermillio in a dream. He introduced himself as Macxermillio and from then on I had an imaginary friend named Macxermillio. I was twelve years old then. Like from my childhood, I did not actively create my imaginary friends. It felt more like an organic process, the same way you don’t sleep and consciously construct your dreams although dreaming is a product of your mind. I knew they images I bumped into were nothing more than my imagination, but I couldn’t sit down and make them do shit like their my puppets; when I did they ceased being my imaginary friends but rather images of my “real” imaginary friends. Therefore, I always treated them like persons with free will, rights, and independent personalities. So I had to get to know Macxermillio, rather than create him. Around the third time when Macxermillio paid me a visit, outside the dreams, he was accompanied by a fellow with white dyed hair on a black horse, wearing a red and black cloak. He introduced himself as, you guessed it, Macfearson. He was subservient to Macxermillio to an extent, either he feared or respected him. He wasn’t subservient to me though and he gave me a tough time sometimes. Then there was another version of me, it looked like me and spoke like me yet it did not think like me, feel like me or was me. He was always referred to as Lebohang, which is my second name, to avoid confusion of having two Sandys in a group. But everyone knew he was Sandy, I hated that to be honest with you. All of the imaginary friend were subservient to Macxermillio, this shows itself in the novel in some interesting ways, because Macxermilio is reserved, methodological and clever he isn’t very aggressive in his managing style or ostentatious about his power and position. He fairly takes into consideration other people’s views and comes up with the best decision for the good of everyone involved, so he is also considerably selfless and protective.
The band, Macxermillio, Macfearson and Lebohang, has been my imaginary friends for so long and actually been with me through difficult times. They studied with me, went to the hospital with me, looked after me when I was sick, and also encouraged me when I felt like giving up. There is only so much they could because they are immaterial, they couldn’t stop me from doing other harmful things from myself or from my suicidal attempts.
Now I’m sure you have realized how essential and important is the Macxermillio character, by the way the Macxermillio and Macfearson in the book are the same as my imaginary friends except in this novel I have put them in a situation for a purpose. I don’t know if this matters, but they agreed to it, we sat together and decided on it and everything. Instead of having the second version of me remain Lebohang in the novel I named gave him the name which is really his, Sandy. It did not make sense to call him Lebohang when the wasn’t going to be me in the book. So there wasn’t going to be any confusion. Since all the imaginary friends subservient to Macxermillio are “Macxermillian” in a sense. That is why Sandy is: Sandy Macxermillian.

The relationship in the band and how they relate to each other in the novel will be further expounded on in the next post: The Three Faces of Sandy. I hope all of this makes sense and reveals why Sandy, in the book, is Sandy. Now a main character in the book having the same name as the author might have other effects and spawn a whole number of interpretations and I think that is okay. I have some things in common with Sandy, a lot, but he just isn’t me. And since the book is written in first person this relationship between author and main character gives the illusion of the story being non-fiction, therefore amplifying the story’s importance and intended function.

P.s  Sorry that this comes long overdue.


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