Tuesday 14 September 2010

Talking to yourself...

... what’s so wrong with that?

She wears fluorescent green wellies, her jeans are turned up a little too much to be fashionable, and her blue waterproof coat is one size too large. Her dog trots along beside her and she is talking. She could be talking to the dog but, as he never appears to reply, she is in effect talking to herself. The writers among you will be preparing to use her as the batty lady who inadvertently becomes a key witness to a crime in a who-dun-it, or as the under-cover witch with awesome magical powers in a children’s novel, but before you unashamedly include her in your next piece of creative writing I must warn you that the lady is me.

I often talk to myself. It’s not a new phenomenon brought on by the recent stresses of an ill husband. I can clearly remember many years ago a teacher colleague looking round my classroom door, her brow furrowed at the sight of me chattering away to a pile of Year 3 artwork and an emerging wall display.

But why is there such a stigma in talking to yourself? I bet loads of you have done it in private and would happily do so in public if it wasn’t for those worried glances from passers-by in the street. Even in a crowd I’ll bet you’ve muttered things under your breath, keeping the tone way down low so others won’t hear, but why should you keep the tone low and why shouldn’t you talk to yourself?

Talking to yourself can clear the mind. When you read a manuscript out loud, you get a better awareness of the lumps and bumps that need ironing out. It’s the same with your thoughts, concerns, plans for the day, anything that’s going round and round in your head. Say it out loud and you can more clearly see what the problem is and what needs to be done. It’s also an excellent way of letting off steam, like shouting out ‘I don’t believe it!’ (or similar phrases) after running for a bus only to have the driver pull away as you reach the door?

Even if you’ve never, ever had the slightest desire to hold a conversation with yourself, there is one thing that I would urge you all to try at least once. You see, it is possible that when people thought they saw me on the park talking to myself they were mistaken. I was probably singing. I wouldn’t suggest trying this in a crowded street. If my voice is anything to go by it could well offend, but when I’m on my own I stride across the field in my fluorescent green wellies with my jeans turned up high enough to avoid the long wet grass and I sing to the birds and the trees, to the bushes, even to the rising sun. What's so wrong with that?