This is a revelation and maybe I’m sharing too much. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember, and really thought not much of it, but over the weekend I realized just how important this little ‘quirk’ of mine is.
I’ve always told myself stories as I go to sleep. I always have. Only recently have I actually started writing these stories down, and – by golly – other people seem to like them too! I suppose it’s not so unusual for a person to tell themselves stories as they lay down, or maybe it is, I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me.
I have story lines in my head that started back in high school. Characters that are old friends, having relationships, getting in trouble, and overcoming obstacles, all while I’ll lying in bed trying to wind down for the day. Some of them have complex histories. Some are fairly simple. There’s almost always a love story in there somewhere. And my stories almost always are driven by people being removed from their comfortable surroundings and stuck somewhere else, and having to deal with that. There have been suicides in my stories. And rescues. The occasional murder. Lots of fighting and struggling.
I visit these stories every night, sometimes jumping from tale to tale, character to character, three times in one minute. New stories arise when I’m inspired by a book or a movie. I usually run with those for a long time. Prince of Herongarde arose when I first saw the movie Ironclad.
Does this seem familiar to any of you? Am I the only one?
It gets stranger, alas. Some nights I focus on a single scene, running through it several times until I’m satisfied with it. Maybe later I’ll write it down. Or not. I’ll hash out a different version of the scene the next night. That one will be better.
But I don’t just think them through. I’ll pantomime them. I’ll act them out. I’ll whisper the dialogue and stand by the bed in the dark imagining what it would be like to see an army approaching the castle walls upon which I stand.
Is that strange? Am I the only one?
I can’t do this when others are around, even my most trusted friends. Not even my husband. I just can’t. It’s so private to me. (So why am I telling you this?)
But if I don’t tell stories to myself, complete with pantomime, I start to miss it. It’s like being cut off from friends. My imagination needs a place to roam. Sometimes I’ll be up until 2am letting it frolic in the fields of a foreign planet. If I can’t do that, I get frustrated and depressed.
I was doing this when I was four years old. I do it now at 40. I suspect I will continue until I die.
Is it just me?