Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shhhhhhh


I found a corner seat, a fake leather couch, propped next to a window offering a view to the hospital. A few yards away, another woman sat curled onto a similar couch, her laptop beside her. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was writing or editing her latest project as I was.

I tend to spin whole scenarios in my head when I’m out in public, given the opportunity to watch people like I was yesterday at my local library.

I imagined getting out of my seat and closing the distance between us, dropping into the chair opposite her and asking if she was a writer too. You know, sharing our stories and comparing our journeys.

Then I told myself how stupid I would feel if she wasn’t a fellow writer.

I flipped through more of my pages and looked back up. Yeah, she was a writer for sure. She kept looking around the room and daydreaming like I was. What else could she be?

When an older gentleman chose the chair next to me to read his magazine, it was all I could do not to start chatting. But I was in a library where I'm supposed to be quiet, not start up conversations with everyone nearby.

I forced my eyes back to my work. Then my phone vibrated. Three times.

My hand wavered.

Okay. So I’m needy.

I packed up my markers and manuscript and made for the exit door.

Since you aren’t in the same room with me, talk to me: How much time do you spend in your head or using your mouth?

51 comments:

Susan Roux said...

Usually what goes through my head comes out my mouth...

Lisa Jordan said...

I'm thankful what is rumbling around in my head doesn't always come out my mouth. People will think I'm a little strange talking about characters who aren't real to them.

When I'm in public, I people watch and create scenarios for them too. In fact, this has led to a new story idea or two.

Julie Jarnagin said...

I'm an introvert. I don't naturally strike up conversations with people I don't know. I wish I was a little more of an extrovert. However, i am a people watcher and scenario creator like Lisa.

Kathryn Magendie said...

If you ever saw me in the library, you would be welcome to come sit by me and ask if I was writing, too :-D

Now, as for how much time is spent in my head - you don't even want to know *laughing* - esp since I don't get out much where I have to interact - though I'm slowly changing my reclusive ways....lawd.

Kenda said...

I never lack for voices--whether story characters in my head or people I talk to. I can strike up a conversation pretty much anywhere, but also like my solitude where the stories play in my head. But come to think of it, I do get shy sometimes and retreat. So I guess I'm quite a mix!

Heckety said...

Alot of time in my head- often chatting to God (wouldn't call it praying exactly, more like gossiping to Him), sometimes just wandering around inside myself.
But when I'm out I'd talk to all sorts of people I don't even know, but then I guess that's kind of National Pastime for the Irish!!

I LOVE the first comment up above!!!

Karen Lange said...

I spend way more time in my head than using my mouth, but sometimes I think I need to verbalize more. Perhaps I just need a good balance? :)
Blessings,
Karen

Susan R. Mills said...

Way, way, way too much!

Joanne Sher said...

I'm with Susan. WAY too much.

Lin Floyd said...

I've been making a study, taking notes of the little voices inside my head talking to me all the time. much of it is negative so I've starting talking back to them or arguing/disputing their ideas and even laughing at them at time. Trying to find peace and quiet so the more creative inspiration can come...

Nehha N Josshi said...

"She kept looking around the room and daydreaming" hehe... sounds familiar!

Sassy Granny ... said...

Oh my goodness, such a good question! I dare say I'm a dreamer, schemer, learner. I love pondering, but I also love the art of communicating (in ANY form). I doubt the creative types in our midst could product anything without the sort of musing you've described.

Blessings,
Kathleen

Susan said...

Hi Terri...Had to chuckle at your question. I love talking with people but don't usually initiate a conversation with a total stranger unless I have a specific question to ask. Like the other day, I heard two people talking in a different language. I finally asked, "Excuse me, are you speaking in Arabic?" The man answered affirmatively.

A lot of times I imagine things in my head. Sometimes it's just my very vivid imagination. As they say in some 12 step programs, "I need to say out of my mind, it's a bad neighborhood." ha ha!

In any event, that was an interesting question. Susan

Jill said...

I'm not a big talker. But I always seem to say the wrong thing! Just kidding, only sometimes. Hey, if that had been me sitting there, I would have loved to have you come talk to me.

ginny said...

I'm a thinker...a wonderer...I meditate, contemplate, and sometime I speak. I love good conversation, but I don't have to be in charge or in the center. I contribute....People think I am angry because I am not a chatterbox, but, well it is not me. I observe, process and then I speak.

Melissa Marsh said...

Haha...it depends! If I am really passionately upset about something, my husband will tell you that I'll talk his ear off! I also used to come home and tell my mom what happened at school from the time I got there until the time the final bell rang.

But for the most part, I am a thinker. In fact, when I don't bother to do the dishes or vacuum or tidy up, my husband excuses it by saying I am "an intellectual" - I am thinking all the time and obviously am not bothered by the mess around me. Good thing he is a better housekeeper than me!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

LOL! I'm one of those people that talk to anyone and everyone. Unlike most writers, I can't work in public. It's too distracting. I need lots of solitude to get anything on paper.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Carmen said...

I spend too much time in my head sometimes. It can be a dangerous place. Thank goodness I have a hubby to bring me down. LOL!

Cheryl Klarich said...

Terri! This is good writing! I hope your fiction was as nice as this post- You'll have a best seller for sure!

I'm a total in my head person...

Linda O'Connell said...

I saw a man writing in a journal, asked his wife sitting next to me if he was a writer. She said he was writing his memoir, blow by blow minute by minute as his life happens. Can't even imagine that obsessive behavior. Soemtimes I'm a talker, most times I'm a watcher. I tens to attract the crazies.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

It's amazing how much time I spend conversing with he dog just to hear my own voice during the day!

However I do have one person that I talk with almost every day on the telephone, she and I have had a long time friendship and some very similar situation in our lives that has drawn us together in a very close sisterly relationship. It is very rare that we go a day without speaking to each other.

Then the girlchild gets home and the need for conversations stop because her mouth is in a continual state of motion. I usually find myself doing a lot of nodding or making the occasional "Really???" in response.

I think I read an article once about the need we a women have to be more verbal than men...go figure!

Blessings
R

Keli Gwyn said...

When I'm in a crowd, I tend to clam up. I'm far better one-on-one. And when I talk writing with another writer, look out.

My real life romance-writing sister and I met at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago and spent six glorious hours together while I helped her with her manuscript. And, yes, we left a very generous tip. =)

Nancy said...

I might start up a conversation if someone were near me, and a lot of stuff always goes around in my head.

Shelley L. Snyder said...

I guess, for me, it depends if I know the other person/people. If I don't know them, I tend to not talk to them. I mean, outside of exchanging plesantries or commenting on the weather or something like that. I lean towards shyness though, so that might be the reason I am like this.

I think I tend to spend too much time in my head, and that can be a scary place, LOL!

Sally said...

I'm a talker. I'm a daydreamer when there is no one to talk to. I need to be more of a writer but I'm taking a hiatus except for my blog, so esentially I am writing:)

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'm both. I do lots of dreaming and without thinking, it comes out in a question or thought to the lady in front of me in the grocery line. I've had more eyebrows raised at me than I can count!:)

Rhonda Schrock said...

I am absolutely known to strike up conversations with perfect strangers! My brain is always whirling, whether it's a column idea that's beginning to flesh itself out, the next blog post, or that evening's dinner.

I hear you, girl.

Hope all is well!

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm in my head WAY too much! Can't help it!

I liked how you wrote this!

Kara said...

I love to people watch and make up stories. Sometimes I catch myself telling my girls what I think and then I have to explain I really have no idea why that stranger left his sandwich on the hood of his car, I was just making up a story to explain it:)

T. Anne said...

Waaay too much. And you know what? It still gets me in trouble.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I tend to be quite happy alone in my own mind...or talking to complete strangers. I'm terrible about talking on the phone to friends or family...I love email and facebook, not talking required. LOL!

Jeanette Levellie said...

When I was younger, I spoke nearly everything that creeped into my brain. Big mistake.

Now I muse more than chatter. Fewer messes to clean up that way.

You did the right thing. And you are no more needy than the rest of us. We love you just as you are!

Andrea said...

I am trying to learn Jeanette's way..."musing more than chattering!" Too many times in my life I have created some real messes with my big mouth.
Blessings,
andrea

Ann Best said...

When I was younger and didn't have 24/7 caregiver duties, I loved being out and "using my mouth," meeting people, sometimes "strangers" like you mention here. Now, however, I spend most of my time in my head (when I'm not talking to my daughter). Both ways are good. There's a time and a season....

Your comment on my "snow" post today reminded me: A dear friend up north of me and her husband want to move from Virginia to Florida to get away from the snow and the cold! I often feel like escaping it, too. I've have enough of it in my life. But, this is where all my children and grandchildren are, and so....

Hope you're having a warm, sunny weekend!
Ann Best, Author

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I spend a lot of time in my head--sometimes when I shouldn't--but I also talk to strangers very frequently. It almost always brightens my day...and theirs too, I hope.

Emily said...

I do that - see someone, think of something to say, and then never follow through. I'm trying to be more outgoing, though, so I think I'm spending more time talking to people than just living in my own world than I used to. Still not an extrovert, though... :)

Deb Shucka said...

I need a pretty good balance of both. When I'm alone, I love the stillness. When I'm in the company of anyone else, I almost always need to talk. I have to work really hard to be polite in classes and at concerts. :-)

Lynda Young said...

I love making up stories about the people I see, but I'd never have the courage to ask them if I was right. I'm far too shy for that ;)

Connie Arnold said...

Nice post, Terri! I can relate to the looking around the room and daydreaming part. I spend a lot of time in my head but not much of a talker.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

I can't believe you didn't talk to her! LOL I am a talker, as you can guess... or at least that's what my fellow workers tell me :-D

Doris

sarah said...

this really made me smile. I used to be mostly in my head...now...I'm mostly a talker and I love it when people come up to me and start talking....everyone has a story...:)

Warren Baldwin said...

Both. On several occasions I thought I recognized people but didn't go up and ask them if I thought they were who I presumed them to be. My dad asked me one time, "What have you got to lose?" So, I've started doing it - asking questions about if they were who I thought they were, and asking what they were doing. Most people respond warmly, and often a good conversation ensues.

Amie B said...

what's the saying...?
god gave us two ears so we could listen twice as much as we talk.
but i'm a gabber anyway. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I was at the library on Saturday and a couple sat down near me and they were talking about some magazine article. I had a hard time concentrating. It was terrible. I wanted a little more in my head time. :(

Lydia K said...

About half-half I'd say! And think. Ha ha. Great post!

Laura Pauling said...

Totally depends on my mood! Sometimes I can be real chatty; and other times, I'm totally not in the mood. :)

WritingNut said...

Ahhh.. alllll day? I spend far too much time in head... I'm not the most talkative person in real life though.

Stephanie Faris said...

I'm not much for talking if I don't have to...but I end up talking more in the course of a day than I'd prefer.

Jackie said...

Terri....I could so relate to your "almost" encounter with those sitting around you. I'm also one who is continually people watching and daydreaming with scenarios spinning in my head. My hubs get's a chuckle out of how I'm always taking "it" all in!

I'd rather have a curious active imagination than be a bump on a log any day : )) !

Enjoyed this post!!

Blessings!
Jackie

Pat said...

My life is in my head! Lol!

Praying for you -- and the conference. : )

Pat said...

My LIFE is in my head! Lol!

Praying for you -- and for the conference to go most ver well! : )