For as long as I can remember, I have always had an active mind, ever since I was a wee lad (do people still say that?).
I think it has to do with the fact that I was pretty much on my own most of the time during my childhood.
When I’m not at school, I remember sitting on the floor of our living room, playing with my Playmobile toys and getting the toy cowboy sheriff to talk to his little brown horsie as they went about fighting off the enemy, which is usually the mean-looking Red Indian.
(No no please don’t call me out for racism! That really was how the toys appeared to me way way back then. Honest.)
My Own Private Idaho
Anyway, that’s how I remember my childhood.
Every time I enacted various imaginary scenarios with my ragamuffin group of playthings, I would always make up conversations in my head, and these would often be spoken out loud, so long as I’m not interrupting the grown-ups around me as they went about their ‘adulting’.
So I guess you can say that since young, I had already learned to be alone and independent, and to have my own little world of words and sounds inside of my head, spinning its own tales and yarn.
A private space where only I could hear the conversations (other than God I suppose).
My own little universe away from the real world, and away from my family.
Or as William Wordsworth once said of a statue of Sir Isaac Newton: “…the marble index of a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought alone.”
Of voices, dreams and non-stop replays
In the case of many children who play alone or make-up imaginary conversations, they usually outgrow it quickly as their social circles expanded. By “expanded” I mean both in terms of the number of friends as well as the amount of contact time.
But me? Well, I continued to have my own “upper room get-togethers” tucked nicely and unobtrusively from prying eyes and ears well into adulthood.
In short, I continued to have words, ideas, endless musings occupying every waking moment of my consciousness.
It probably explains why all through my grown-up years right up to this moment, I still struggle so often with a good night’s rest. Somehow these inner thoughts and voices are just so hard to silence. My mind’s churning with them all the way to the moment I fall asleep, and they just as immediately resume the instant I wake up the next day.
Sometimes they come in the form of fantastical dreams. Other times awful nightmares and replays of things that happened before or things to come (very often in oddly embellished ways, as is the case with dreams, like scenes from Inception or Doctor Strange).
No stress. Only solace.
I used to get really upset about this seeming-inability to shut off the voices and conversations (more like soliloquys) in my head.
But these days, since embarking on my writing life, I’ve found them to be a fountain of ideas and inspirations. Rather than fight them, I’ve taken to jotting them down as soon as possible for fear I forget them. Like the way we tend to forget our dreams shortly after waking up.
To successfully do so, I’ve had to place note pads, pens or my mobile devices within easy reach both at home and in my car, the two places I’m definitely to be found throughout most days.
That way, I don’t miss a beat, a thought, a rumination.
A musing. Or to be more precise, Kelvin’s musings (sorry I just couldn’t resist)!
I don’t always know what that thought or idea will germinate into, but I think it’s better to have and not need, then to need and not have.
Don’t you agree?
So what was once a stress point for me that led to many a sleepless night, has become a treasure trove to be plied open for wonder and discovery.
So here’s to the conversations in my head: May you forever be a solace and soothing balm, nourishing my mind, soul, spirit and, most of all, my writings!