Writers Talk...To Themselves

I once engaged in a heated exchange with myself about an annoying person with whom I’d had excess contact. A man suddenly appeared a few feet away from me, raptly listening to my solo conversation. In my defense, I was out walking in dense fog (the kind where, if I dropped my cell phone, I’d have to get down on all fours and feel around for it).

At first, I was mortified. Had the eavesdropper heard the part where I wanted to tie one end of a rope to a chair to which the irritant was handcuffed, and tie the other end to the bumper of a four-wheel drive truck that I would then drive over jagged edged boulders at high speeds? I was subjected to some heavy squinting and blinking by the man as he vainly searched for the party with whom I was having said conversation. Rather than defend my jabbering, I smiled, waved, and moved on quickly, letting him jump to his own conclusions about my sanity.

After this incident, I kept my talking out loud to a minimum or at least within the confines of my car or home where such behavior is not totally unexpected. I enjoy solo talk – as a writer, it helps me remember things and work out challenges. I discovered that for some people, it helps ease loneliness and creates a sense of community.

I came across a woman in a grocery store who not only talked to herself out loud, but did it so others had to be involved as well.

“Don’t the pears look good?” “Should I buy some cereal?” “What time is it?” she yelled to no one in particular.

I heard a nearby man answer, “Uh, it’s 4:10.” Which made me wonder, “Are they together?” (to myself, not aloud).

They were not together, and she proceeded in this manner for the duration of her shopping.

“Where’s the bread?” she inquired, looking around her.

I stepped forward. “Aisle four, I think.”

Does such talk cross the line into mental unbalance? I noticed a man on a street corner, alone, on a hot day, talking up a storm of nonsense. Heat-stroke or insanity? I’d place my bet on the latter. But the woman in the market was not insane. She managed a fairly normal conversation with the cashier. She just hadn’t mastered the art of not talking to herself loudly in public places. Something I learned after being busted and possibly mistaken for a raving lunatic.

It’s not just writers, loners, and the insane that talk to themselves. Historical figures known for their genius did so as well. Albert Einstein engaged in solo talk. It helped him figure out things and rid himself of stumbling blocks. A Time magazine article stated jabbering to oneself can help retain focus and improve perception. In my case, it helped siphon off stress, reason through a difficult situation, and perhaps provide fodder for my next book. Should you feel the urge to engage in a soliloquy, go right ahead. You’ll be in good company. Oh, but do stay off street corners lest a case of mistaken identity ensue.

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7 years ago

I talk to myself loud too. For instance, this morning while changing my sheets, I asked myself out loud “Should I turn the top portion of my flat sheet over my blanket?” I answered yes, it looks better this way. I had a very nice conversation. Maybe I am a genius and don’t know it. :)

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