August 25, 2013

Talking to oneself

Dear M,

Something really embarrassing happened a few days ago - someone caught me speaking to myself.

That in itself isn't bad, I am sure we all do that now and then. But in my case it was a very advanced (and hopeless?) case. I had been at it, gesturing and whispering and smiling, for at least ten minutes (and I have no idea how much longer) before I realised that I was being watched. I can't say how shocked and ashamed I was, and how foolish I felt. How deep inside my own head was I that I forgot where I was? I laughed about it, of course, but it was a real jolt.

I know I told you yesterday that I have a five hour distance between my real and fictional world. That's what I thought, really. I thought there was sufficient layer of reality between both, and a sufficiently thick wall of consciousness. Maybe this is not true, maybe the two overlap more frequently than I was aware of.

Strictly speaking, I was not in my fictional world - in the sense that I was not creating or developing my characters or plot. I was in a fictionalised real world: by that I mean, I was thinking of real people, people I had spoken to over phone just minutes ago. I was running the same conversation again, and then I moved on to conversations that might have happened. I imagined their reactions, my responses, the smiles, the laughter, the comedy. We might call it day dreaming or fantasising. I was too involved in it (I was also doing some chore at the time where not much brain interaction was required) that I did not realise someone was standing just a few feet away, and that I was enacting the scene, gestures, words, expressions and all, much to that person's amusement.

So many thoughts come to my mind when I think about this. One is that we are such an absent-minded lot hovering dangerously over the brink, and the journey to complete isolation begins somewhere close by. Too close by. It is scary. Some day, if this goes on, I could end up living more in my imagined world (with real and fictional characters) than in the real world with real people. Some might call it madness.

Another thought is that these imagined conversations will one day make their way into my story. It has happened before. I have imagined meetings with people I know (people who barely remember me and don't think of me at all), conversations, attitudes, expressions, everything. Then later one of my characters would find himself/herself in a similar situation and say the very same words and display the same behaviour and expressions. That's not a bad thing. At least that is what I tell myself when I remember this incident and my cheeks begin to turn red at the memory.


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