Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Notes and the first person plural

My notes for whatever I happen to be working on usually take the form of spider diagrams done in pencil (love the flow of a propelling pencil on paper...) in lined spiral bound A4 notebooks(difficult to get unlined, I would if I could, but don't want to pay lots) . These gobbets of thought generally discuss what happens, why and how in any given scene (or even conversation) but, occasionally, I have discussions with myself, in pencil, about where or how the scene should go. In these discussions, I address myself in the first person plural, as in 'do we think it's a good idea to...?, 'shall we get x to do y..?'

This has only recently struck me as odd, despite the fact that I know I've been doing it for two decades or so. Does anybody else address themselves this way, or am I alone in this particular kind of personal identity instability?


Aliya Whiteley said...

You weirdie.

As I walk my Munchie to her nursery, I talk to myself in the second person about what I'm going to write that day.

'You'll beef up that bit and you'll remember to add the bit with the radio controlled dog and you don't want to overcomplicate the nuclear reactor etc etc.'

I get some strange looks on the way to nursery.

Alis said...

Hmmm... clearly your dual personality has a boss/doer what they're told element... mine's more collaborative but then I've never really been very good at doing what I'm told, even when it's part of me that's doing the telling! Shame really, sometimes I could really do with somebody bossing this book!
BTW Aliya, how did the move go and has Munchie settled down in a new nursery?

Aliya Whiteley said...

Ah well, you know how it is, moving house is a form of torture. But most of our possessions survived the move and Munchie is trying hard to be chipper. Give it a couple of weeks and I'll have my bearings.

Interestingly, High Wycombe does appear to have its own micro-climate. I seem to be permanently surrounded by some sort of warm sticky fog. Or is that all over the UK at the mo?

Alis said...

The only thing I know about HW is that when we drive past it on the motorway, there is always a flock (if that's the right collective noun) of red kites flying around looking for carrion. Slightly unnerving when you're whizzing along at (speeds in excess of the) national speedlimit!

David Isaak said...

Much as I hate to answer with a quote, here's F. Scott Fitzgerald (from memory, so it may be a bit off):

"Writers aren't really people. They're a whole bunch of people trying to be a person."

We couldn't agree more.

As for the second person, it's the sneakiest POV. Kind of first person, but not quite owning up to it, and able to argue that it's kind of a generalized third person if it seems to be uncomfortable to be in first. I enjoyed "Bright Lights, Big City" but if it would have gone on even ten pages more, I would have hunted down the author with my gun in hand, mnuttering, "You--you--you, you... Take that! You, you, you..."

But High Wycombe is an incredibly cool place name.

Alis said...

If you want cool names, David, how about my Other Half's favourite - Leverton with Habblesthorpe on the Trent. England, you gotta love it!

David Isaak said...

"Leverton with Habblesthorpe on the Trent."

That's a place?

Sounds more like a recipe.

I'm in awe.

Alis said...

Actually, I'm in trouble because it's North Leverton with Hablesthorpe on the Trent. Even more awe is in order.

x24mccoy said...

My use of the first person plural bounces between conversation and "you". As in "I wonder what we should have for lunch? Perhaps a sandwhich? No, we had that yesterday, besides I want something you can sink your teeth into. Like a steak? You like steak. Yes, but that costs too much...."

Actually, I find the whole "you" thing works better when I'm telling an anecdote. I read a ton of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books when I was little, and somehow the habit never went away.

As far as British place names go, I've always wondered how people came up with them. Like Bath and Stockton-on-Tees or how anybody keeps them straight when you consider that (according to wikipedia, anyway) Blackwell alone has 16 locations without variations or there are 7 Thames.

Interestingly enough, in my Google search for a place name that I couldn't remember I came across various sites that explain the linguistics behind the names, but I digress....

(ok, http://www.englishplacenames.co.uk if you're interested)