When I read this line, I said to myself, “Doesn’t everybody?” and I’ve been puzzling over it ever since. The writer* did not elaborate.
If it means that writers have more lively imaginations (sometimes even lurid, often doomsday, but occasionally just fanciful), I can understand that. I find myself making up stories in my head all the time, and certainly not fairy tales, although often just as unrealistic. And I’m sure I spend far more time doing this than is good for me (the Reality Angel on my shoulder will whisper, “Oh cut it out, for Heaven’s sake).
If it means that writers spend a lot of time writing in their heads, I can identify with this too. Not all, but much of my experience gets “written up” without benefit of computer or pen and paper. When I was in Intensive Care a few years ago, this writing in my head about what was happening around me probably saved my sanity. Under normal conditions, it’s good practice to play around with words in one’s head, test out how they sound, curl them up on the tongue, imagine how they would look on the page or how an invisible reader might feel them. And, as I’ve noted elsewhere, writing about your experiences (even in your head) places you more squarely in the moment, adds to its savor.
But perhaps most of all – and this should be true of everyone, not just writers – a lifetime of past experiences lives inside our heads, some of them conveniently visible on shelves, some tucked between the leaves of books, some in dusty boxes, old recipe files or bottom dresser drawers. Music evokes many of these for me. Others I have to go digging for, hidden treasures richer for the remembering. It’s the exercise of poking around through these, as we age and contemplate writing them down in some coherent, painful, lyrical or funny way, that I believe is the real living inside our heads. It is not an unhappy place to be.
*I read this recently, but am now unable to find the source. I think it was in Hippocampus Magazine, so if anyone knows who wrote it, please let me know. I dislike leaving quotes unattributed. Thanks. SSH
© Sandra Shaw Homer, 2015
Photo by SSH