Narration

René Magritte, Le Principe Du Plaisir, 1937

I talk to myself. When I shop, cook, read, practice (sometimes), go for long walks—I imagine and comment often unconsciously, no matter who’s around. And I always write out loud…always.

It’s not enough for me to see characters talk to each other on the page, express themselves through inner monologues, or confess their longings in letters; I have to hear them do it. Nothing about them or their situation feels concrete until my ear can process their voices. The same is true for an objective narrator. I have to hear the narration in order to see the scene and action.

I started talking to myself when I started reading, an offshoot, I suppose, of being read to by my parents. When I started school, I read everything I needed to learn aloud; and when I got older, I learned to keep my voice low so I wouldn’t disturb anyone around me, or become the subject of ridicule or fear. I still have sharp memories of the warning issued by one of my math teachers when there were whispers in class: “There are only two types of people in this world who talk to themselves; and none of you are millionaires. The men in the white coats will be coming for you soon.”

In my youth, I didn’t think I was crazy, but how could I be sure? It was the sixties.

Thanks to cell phones, I’m no longer concerned about my habit of talking to myself in public. These days, most people are talking to air—yelling at their kids, coordinating schedules with their mates, or gossiping in a way that invites everyone to eavesdrop. Next to them, my babble about ingredients labels, or what was on the grocery list I left at home, is inaudible, even if my lips are clearly moving. No one cares.

And at home? Well….

A few days ago, my husband came in to my office wanting to know who I was talking to as I was in the thick of a character’s outpourings; but as soon as he saw the page of text on my screen, and the phone receiver resting in place, rather than at my ear, he said, “Oh,” and left without another word. Without blinking.

That’s the wonderfully comforting part of living with someone for a long time.

You can talk to yourself all you want, and it’s just part of another day for them. At least, that’s what I tell myself….

©2019 All Rights Reserved


8 thoughts on “Narration

  1. My husband talks to himself all the time. Time and again I’ll check and say, “Are you talking to me?” “No, darling, just to myself.” Then I know I don’t have to tune in.
    Most literary translators read their final drafts out loud to hear how the writing sounds, the rhythm of the prose.
    Lovely piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 100% agree with your blog, Barbara. I talk to myself all the time and find that I even argue with myself. It’s a great way to figure out what needs to be figured out. Love this so much. I hope you don’t mind if I re-blog it. ~nan

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.