Hearing Voices

Posted By on March 2, 2011

Again, I’m posting at halfish past one on Thursday morning. Why sleep? I seem to be in some sort of nocturnal phase. I’m not allowed to cook or clean in the middle of the night. For some reason, my beloved housemates never enjoy the clatter. So–I watch strange TV instead.

I think I mentioned, somewhere down there amongst the blog posts that I’d grown addicted to midnight soap opera marathons. That seems to have waned. Tonight, I caught up on DVR episodes. Top Chef. Ohmygosh! I cried my way through tonight’s (that is Wed. night’s) episode. The chefs always remind me of writers. For one thing, they’re easily as quirky (I was gonna write neurotic, but good manners forestalled such a faux pas!) as we are, and they’re as dedicated to craft. And this is the big thing–at some point in each Top Chef season, each chef is trying to remember his/her voice, and to find the courage to cook in it.

I totally understand that. So much of writing is trying to get the right tone for the house for which we want to write. Whether we mean to or not, fear can creep in and stifle–bind–throttle our voices. I know when I’m writing scared. Today, for instance…  Bon soir to the thousand or so words I slashed. How I loved you, and yet, you needed your freedom! I needed to give you your freedom so that I could find my own.

And I love the new words that replaced you.

Though I really don’t care for my new process. Apparently, I must practice write before I find the right path. It’s neither efficient nor pleasant. It makes me doubt myself, when the truth is, the moment I manage to trust my own voice enough to write in it, I am efficient and oh so much more readable. There’s movement and emotion and passion, rather than words wrapped in barbed wire I’ve fashioned out of fear.

In fact, as I’m not going to sleep, I think I’ll just open my file and add a few more new words.

You know, I don’t think it’s just chefs and writers who need to trust our own voices–our own view of the world. Trusting the world with the self we are deep down is frightening, but it can also be noble. As the days and months and years pass, and I understand myself, I am also more in search of compassion–the giving of it–not the taking.

And maybe, I’m talking too much. (Can’t run around uncloaking my deep down self for too long.)

May the voice you hear be your own!

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