I live in my head probably more than I should. I spend a lot of time reading (both fiction and non-fiction), and then thinking about what I’ve read. I constantly revisit the past and wonder “What if….” I not only rewrite copy but I also (in my head) rewrite me; still “I am” although better in some indefinable way.
I possess a rich inner life. With my extremely vivid imagination I: have conversations with myself; play out scenarios of exciting encounters with interesting people who challenge me intellectually over glasses of vintage wine; and travel to places like Puerto Rico, Iceland, Sweden, Austria and Italy. I also rewind real life encounters, editing them to reflect what I would like to have happened; things I could have said that would have been oh so much more amusing and wittier.
I used to think that it was because of my writing process: always thinking about words; being inspired to capture a turn of phrase on paper just the way a friend had spoken it in real life; seeing an ad on a billboard or in a magazine and wondering who created such cleaver, catchy copy. It wasn’t until I read The Blue Castle for the first time that I realized this might be only partly true.
The novel by Lucy M. Montgomery is about Valancy Sterling who escapes the reality of life with her domineering mother by living in a Blue Castle in Spain (in her imagination). The book totally resonated with me. Aside from the fact that the novel validated living in my head, it also made me realize it is the way I make the world make sense – a creative coping mechanism if you will. Up until I first encountered “The Blue Castle” I did idly wonder if I wasn’t a little cracked – my inner life is typically constructed of explicit detail, right down to a specific floor plan, shape of a room or the colour of a couch and pattern of the fabric of an occasional chair.
I found reassurance in the character of Valancy that one day my rich inner life will translate seamlessly into the language of the real world. In the meantime, I’ll just keep reminding myself that I am not crazy – I’m just plotting my next novel or coping with fallout from watching the evening news.