Is this normal? I have no idea - mine is the only head I’ve ever really been in, so I can’t compare it with what went on in other people’s heads when they were children. I suspect, however, that everyone in my generation and earlier had to find something to do inside their own head, because what else was going to happen while you had to walk home from school alone? I worry a bit that people no longer spend time in their heads. The moment they’re alone (and often even when they aren’t) they can plug their heads into earbuds and listen to music, or a podcast, or chat with friends. No one ever gets stuck with their own thoughts, or left alone with the world around them. No one is ever forced to be in their own head anymore; there’s always an option that’s easier, or more immediately appealing. Now, I don’t want to cry the catastrophe of change, the decline of the world, or the deficiencies of young people these days. There are advantages to balance disadvantages, and the human spirit adapts to do what it does in whatever environment it finds itself. All I can say with certainty is that when I was a kid I spent a lot of time in my head crafting narratives, and I can’t imagine being a person who had never done that.
Tune in next time for a short story I wrote in high school capturing this habit of mine.
[Pictures: Illustration from Gods’ Man, woodcut by Lynd Ward, 1929 (Image from the Atlantic);
Frontspiece from God’s Man, woodcut by Ward, 1929 (Image from Amherst College).]