Talking to myself


I find I’m talking to myself more now than ever.

I’m not sure what to make of that.

It’s not quite Walter Mitty stuff mind you. I’m not pitching for the Orioles or quarterbacking the Buccaneers. I haven’t been strutting across a stage… in some strange reenactment of a scene from Risky Business… belting out songs from my latest CD.

I have been quoting excerpts from my soon-to-be-(oh-don’t-I-wish) best seller. Maybe that deserves a bit of explanation.

I find I always do my best writing, unfortunately for both you and me, when I am far away from pen, paper or computer. It generally takes place when I am walking with my dogs, when I’m in the shower, or when I’m driving my car. Things like that. So when I participated recently in National Novel Writing Month, I spent lots of time talking out loud, to myself, about sections that I wanted to write. Very rarely did the words on paper reach the level of quality I believe I achieved when cruising along on the highway. I should also point out that my dogs didn’t offer as much critical support as I had hoped for.

But for some reason, even having spent so much time writing a draft of a novel during the month of November, I find myself wondering if I am talking to myself too much.

When I was younger… much, much younger… I used to love the Creature Double-Feature on television. One of my favorite movies was Voyage into Space. It was a tale about Giant Robot and the child that controlled him. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that I spent plenty of time staring out the elementary school window while whispering into my watch.

There are people out there that will understand what I mean… I know… I checked out Giant Robot, Voyage into Space, and Johnny Sokko on the internet. Plenty of us were staring out windows, our wrists raised to our lips, and our eyes focused on the horizon hoping for a flying robot to streak into view.

But things are different today. People tell you strange things when they catch you talking to yourself. “As long as you aren’t answering yourself,” is one great response. Or how about “are the voices in there friendly?” I don’t get much comfort from that one.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too concerned. Just as long as I don’t wind up seeing this article in the hands of my wife’s lawyer I’ll be fine. And, in case for some reason my wife does find need for a lawyer, how about if we say that the voices I hear in my head… the conversations I have with myself… normally include the following:

“I should probably mow the lawn today.”

“There are four different kinds of orange juice for each brand. I don’t know what brand she drinks, forget about remembering pulp, no pulp, or calcium added!”

“Oh shoot (only I don’t say shoot), it’s trash night.”

Usually though you’ll find me combining them all together… I grab my car keys because I need to go to the store. Walking out to the car I see the trash can and remember that the pick-up is tomorrow. So, I bring the bags to the curb before getting in the car. The conversation along this entire walk goes something like: “Milk, juice and a vegetable for dinner. Milk, juice and a vegetable for dinner. Milk, juice and… oh shoot, trash day. Guess I’ll bring this stuff out now. Oh, looks like the grass needs to be mowed. Has it been over a week already? I don’t think it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Guess I’ll get it then. Ok, milk, bread and… umm… juice. Juice. Does she like it with or without pulp? I guess I could get both. Wait, do I like it with or without pulp? If I don’t like it I’m not drinking it just because she didn’t like it but I bought it.”

And the conversation goes happily along that path until I return home, walk in the house, unpack the groceries and get asked…

“Did you forget the vegetables?”

Yes. I did.

I wonder how she puts up with me? Probably because I usually add ice cream to the list of things I did get.

In any event I don’t think I’m all that close to walking down the street, no one within twenty feet of me, fists clinched, teeth locked in a grimace, and under my breath forcefully arguing “next time get your own orange juice.”

I guess I’m not tremendously concerned.

For now.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at