Interior Dialogues

I’ve been having this conversation with myself lately, an interior dialogue that usually ensues each morning on my way to work.  It goes something like this…

“If only I could stay home today and (a) write (b) go for a walk (c) play the piano (d) read…anything besides being stuck at a desk all day.  I feel so bored and tired of doing this job, I really need to make a change, do something more creative, more interesting, more meaningful.”

“But wait, where else would I find a job with the flexibility I have in this one? Where else would I find such supportive co-workers?  And isn’t it terribly ungrateful  of me to think about quitting a perfectly good job when more and more of my neighbors are becoming unemployed every day?

“True, but are you being fair to yourself to keep on in a job that you don’t believe in or enjoy?  Life is too short, really…”

“Isn’t that just  typical of the kind of self centered attiude which has led our society into the crisis we’re currently mired in.  You need to buck up and be thankful you’ve got a job at all.

These kinds of conversations with oneself can be quite helpful.  And I’m certainly not the only one who engages in them.  Right now, I’m reading  one of my favorite literary characters who is quite the queen of interior dialogue. Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher, writer, thinker, has a new thoughtful adventure in print ..  Comforts of  Muddy Saturday  (isn’t that a wonderful book title?)  Being a philosopher, Isabel uses her interior dialogues to consider some rather weighty problems, but she often ponders matters of a  personal nature as well,  matters of life, love, and motherhood.   She finds herself being called upon to use her powers of logic and philosophical thought in helping others, and her tendency to become involved in the dilemmas presented to her can occasionally be disruptive, to the dismay of her young lover, Jamie.

“Isabel…” There was an unmistakable note of warning in his voice.  Jamie did not approve of Isabel’s getting involved in matters that did not concern her and had told her as much on numerous occasions.

“I could hardly refuse,” she said.

Jamie shook his head.  “But that’s exactly what you could do,” he said.  “Life consists of refusing thing we shouldn’t be doing.”

Isabel reflected on this for a moment.  Perhaps for some people life did indeed consist of refusing to do things – there were those who were adept at that.  But she was not one of them.  Her problem, rather, was one of deciding which claims on her moral attention to respond to and which to ignore; and it seemed, for some reason, that there were always more of the former than the latter.  How can we ignore a cry for help? she asked herself.  By steeling our hearts?  By closing them?

 Isabel engages in this charming conversations with herself throughout these little fables cum mysteries.  Reading these books is as comforting as  a hot cup of tea on a rainy afternoon. 

And certainly a welcome reward after a day spent slaving away at my desk.



8 thoughts on “Interior Dialogues

  1. I’m entertained by that aspect of Isabel’s character as well. Sometimes it seems a bit over the top, particularly when the decision to be made is an emotionally fraught one, for her to continue to weigh everything out in such a measured fashion. But she is every inch the philosopher! I think though that my favourite character in that series is not any of the people but rather the city of Edinburgh. McCall Smith brings it to life in such vivid detail in those books, and in his Scotland Street series as well.

    • I agree, dear Isabel is almost too clear headed to be true sometimes! And yes, I love the vivid portrayal of Scotland in these books, and the Scotland Street series. He takes me right along into the shops and gardens.

  2. That’s a lovely book title! I am right with you in holding conversations with myself all the time, on every conceivable topic. It’s like the UN inside my mind most of the time – well, too much of it! I think you should consider whether there is any way of spicing up your current job, by taking on new projects, pushing the boundaries, looking for more variety, going on a course. It is miserable to do something that isn’t stretching you, but those wretched bills do demand to be paid. I am all for compromise! 🙂

  3. I don’t think you have to be grateful for a job you don’t enjoy or believe in unless you need it to feed your kids. Maybe it would be moral as well as enjoyable (if you don’t need the money or could comfortably downsize) to leave the job so that someone who might lose her house or is supporting kids could have it. Of course you don’t have any control about who would get it…just over what you choose. But gratitude for a job if you don’t really need it is not required.

    It sounds like a fun book and yes a great title!

  4. I can relate to both Isabel’s musings and your own, as I hold such conversations with myself several times daily (of course, it’s when we start to answer ourselves that the problems start 😉 ) I’m with litlove, push the boundaries and see what happens. Best of luck–and happy weekend!

  5. Whenever I have such conversations with me about my own job (which would have been every day in the past two months) I try to remember that not having all the time I want forces me to spend the time I do have well. (As you do.) Sometimes this helps. Sometimes I do simply despair.

    I hope something happens at the job that brings to you the new.

  6. Oh how I can relate. My job is a job. I go there and do it… nothing super special about it. But I have come to see the upsides to it, especially considering how many people don’t have jobs anymore. Great topic!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s