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Shorts aren't important...
It's what goes in 'em that matters!

Robert is currently collating a collection of travel writing, magazine articles, poems and ephemera for future publication as "Long shorts, short shorts & very short shorts". This was the first of such pieces to be published, in 2018.

We all have multiple personalities of course – not in the “4 faces of Eve” sense, but in the way that we present a different version of ourselves to our partners than we do to the man who, say, comes to fix your gas boiler – or at least, one hopes…

What though of those with highly defined, separate personalities, sharing the same body? It is a subject area that I find fascinating and one which I explored to an extent in “Love & Light & Marzipan”. For example, when someone with multiple personality disorder talks to themselves, do they ever argue? How about when they are at rest – do some of their identities sleep whilst the others keep watch? Do they take it in turns to dream? Anyway, this was inspired by some of the sometimes scary, always amusing, things my wife would say when talking in her sleep. All the quotes, by the way, are real. RE '22

Pillow Talk

All intelligent creatures both dream and talk to themselves. Some really intelligent beings, such as my wife, can do both at the same time, although, much of what is said may suffer from being non-sensical dribblings, such as ‘Hooray! Here come the Biscuits!’, ‘Play nicely for the pretty gentlemen!’ or that perennial old favourite,  ‘The Donkey, the donkey! Watch out for the donkey!’

Many of her unconscious nocturnal mutterings concern her hospital work. She is regularly losing patients down inexplicably large holes in the hospital gardens, turning up to meetings dressed as a bee and injecting patients with balsamic vinegar – so it is not surprising that she sometimes dreams about doing these things too! -Ha ha! (Legal point: This is a joke – she has hardly ever done either of these things in real life…)

Eerily creepy though it may be, perhaps one of the most fascinating experiences one can have with a somniloquist is joining in their discourse, without waking them. I once engaged in a dialogue with my sleeping wife about a football match she was watching in her dreams. I asked her who was winning.

‘The Reds!’ she said.

‘Who are they playing?’ I asked.

‘The Blues!’ she replied.

‘What’s the score?’ I enquired.

‘The score’, she announced, with some authority, ‘is seven plus seven plus seven!’ I have to admit, it sounded like a heck of a game.

And so it continued, for several minutes, making it the longest and most interesting conversation we had enjoyed in years. I too, will occasionally make verbal proclamations whilst sleeping and my wife confirms most assuredly, that they are far more engaging and sensible than anything I might utter whilst fully conscious.

A friend of mine once nervously confided in me, that she had a terrible secret and simply had to tell somebody - so she had picked on me. I hid my delight (for there is nothing more I want to hear than other people’s terrible secrets) but soon had to hide my disappointment equally well, as her revelation was nowhere near as scandalous as I had hoped for. It was simply this: She talked to herself. That was it. What a let-down! I had been hoping for something much more intriguing and ideally licentious, such as a lusty fetish for fried egg sandwiches or short, balding Yorkshiremen of late middle age.

The fact is that everybody talks to themselves and, to an extent, all creative writing or indulgence in any art form, is a physical manifestation of that internal monologue.

Far from it being an activity one should avoid, if we more regularly gave ourselves a good talking to - it might save others from feeling so compelled in having to do it. It is then, nothing to be ashamed of, but something in which to take pride.

For as long as I can remember I have not only talked to myself, but interviewed myself, often making myself laugh at my own razor sharp wit and raconteurial skills, leaving myself not only thoroughly entertained but also deeply impressed with myself on a multitude of levels.

Recently however, I confess I have begun to get a little bored with my own conversation. Things came to a head just last night, when I was talking to myself about my own political beliefs and how much I disagreed with myself about them. Sadly, it is no exaggeration to say that I almost came to blows with myself over it and have been unable to speak to myself since. Really, an apology to myself would be nice, but I’m afraid as yet, none has been forthcoming. In truth, I am simply not convinced I am really listening to myself anymore, and am beginning to wonder, if I ever really did. Still, I don’t want to upset myself by furthering the argument and have decided to just let the dust settle for a few days, see how I react, and hope one day that I discover sufficient common ground with myself, that I might begin talking to myself once again.

I may be a dreamer, but it seems the intelligent thing to do.



My very favourite thing Carolyn has said to me whilst sleeping was when she shook me awake, and demanded to know with some urgency ‘Was it a camel? Was it? Or was it a dromedary?’

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