I am the queen of mimicry. Not aloud or anything – this isn’t a confession of an ability to imitate people, unfortunately. But internally, whenever I read a book written in a voice or style I admire, I adopt that voice in my own head. For most of my childhood, my thoughts came in third person narration. So, for example, whenever someone said something, my brain would add an automatic “he said” or “she said” before it. Automatically, and without my permission.
It was involuntary, a strange mental function that I had absolutely no control over. Sometimes, I would even hear my own thoughts in third person narration, and it was so strange to hear my OWN THOUGHTS prefaced with a “she said” or whatever other word I felt like using that day. Over the years, this got to be quite irritating, and I did a variety of things to make it stop. I meditated, I read books with different narration styles, I did everything (translation: I did very little and wished on a ton of stars).
And while the “she said” “he said” thing stopped after a while, my brain’s ability to mimic things suddenly and without warning never really did. And part of the problem with it is that I tend to go long periods without reading anything of substance. I’ll read bad fanfiction and romance novels almost exclusively, as a kind of brain vacation, and my thoughts will mirror the reading material.
And while this predilection should have warned me away from reading similar books one after the other, it has not. Today, I finished reading Nora Ephron’s book “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” Before that, I read “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, and other concerns” by Mindy Kaling, and before that I read “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. Basically, I read the memoirs of three extremely intelligent, witty, clever women who all wrote comedy at one time or the other.
And even though I myself have no real talent for comedy, I’ve found my thoughts being translated into one liners, humorous anecdotes, and quips about this or that. While I find these funny, I’m fairly sure that if I were to voice them no one else would. And it’s still a little frustrating to me – I mean, are these thoughts even my own if they’re so easily influenced by others? Do I have no control over my own brain?
The thing is, it’s hard to feel bad about this involuntary mimicry when I’ve got a comedy reel running in my head.