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.