The Company I Keep


My kids this it’s hilarious that I talk to myself. They crack up when they walk into a room to find me laughing about something clever that I’d just told myself.

But this is who I am, chillun. I’m happiest alone, keeping my own company.

I talk out loud, I guess, just to hear myself talk. In no particular order, these are some of the things I talk about to myself:

1. future interviews I’ll give to David Letterman
2. comebacks that would cleverly win past arguments
3. cooking show tutorials
4. explanations/justifications for strange behaviors (This one’s really a Catch-22 of sorts.)
5. pleasant things I’d say at coronation/pontification-type events
6. acceptance speeches
7. ghetto smack
8. speeches I’d make to sassy children, exhorting them to “act right”
9. speeches I’d make to sassy adolescents, exhorting them to “act right” (The difference between #8 and #9 is increased finger waving and ghetto-mom head shaking: that’s it, really.)
10. coining new words
11. theological exegesis and interpretations
12. faux conversations with faux friends
13. retelling of funny incidents
14. winsome conversations I’d have with important people (like Bono and Jon Bonjovi)
15. my own eulogy.

I talk to myself a lot.

But I really bring up the issue of talking to myself because for me, this is a crucial part of the design process, too. (Can anyone relate?!) When I first have the beginnings of an idea, I rarely jump up and gather beads and wire, or needles and yarn. The idea remains in my head as a concept, a pre-project. Many ideas won’t make it past this early stage, squeezed out by better ideas, or older, stronger ideas that steal sunlight from such fragile seedlings.

But when an idea – a project, a pattern, a plan – continues to grow, I nurture it with my attention.

I wish I could trace the path of ideas in my brain. I wish I could the see the headwaters of a favorite color, or a design weakness (like saints in nichos, and Tibetan silver), or an idea that seemed smarter than me.

While I can’t comprehend how brains function, I know I love how the thoughts in my head can be faithful, bright companions. And always eager to go somewhere new.

“Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known… then went crazy as a loon.”

– Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons