Saturday, December 9, 2023

What is that sound?

Paper #5 Barbara Torris
WHAT IS THAT SOUND I HEAR?

Is that my Voice or is it yours?

I have been taking a class presented by the University of Arizona's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The class, Writing for Self-Discovery, is a commitment that has me writing a story, 900 words long, that is submitted on the weekend and then reviewed by fellow students in the class. It satisfies me. I like that.

This week we were asked to talk about what we think the term "Voice" means. We were given a quote from Janet Conner from Writing Down Your Soul, pointing out that we all have a unique Voice that is waiting for us to listen.

I am not one to admit that I hear a Voice inside my head. That might not be a sane thing. Yet I think I need to let you understand that it is there. Just under the surface of the din around me, the Voice waits to have its say. It is my inspiration. It is the way I write and speak.

My life is not perfect. I have always quoted Popeye the Sailorman when I make a mistake or people don't like me. "I yam what I yam and that’s what I yam," I say and shrug my shoulders. What are we, my Voice and I, going to do? Then I might sigh. Mistakes happen. As for people not liking me, I laugh and think “Really, what’s not to like.” I try to laugh even though it may be painful.

Writing in my authentic writing Voice helps me keep those things that go wrong in perspective. Obsessing about anything is not good for me. At 82 years of age, I need to tame my obsessions and use writing to help work out what is happening or even why. I used to say that I had to write almost daily. But of late, it is getting very quiet. I don't feel as inspired as I once was. I am still hoping that the class will get me back to myself. We will see.

Back in the day when I began blogging around 2006, trolls would call you out or make disparaging remarks. It was necessary to have a thick skin. Those who persevered were rewarded with better skills and even better understanding of their Voice.

At one time I had a disclaimer on this blog because of trolls. It asked the reader to overlook what I missed in rereading. I learned from people like the NYT’s Frugal Traveler (https://www.nytimes.com/video/frugal-traveler). He had stayed at a roadside motel in Florida and extolled its virtues. When I researched it, I commented on his blog that it did not look safe. He called me out on the comment then went to my blog and called me amateurish. It was the truth. However, I was allowed to be inexperienced. My goal was to put myself out into the world enough times so that I would improve. Readers were kind and supportive. If others read, I needed to acknowledge their presence. They help me be very careful about editing etc.

But if someone tries to silence my Voice or even change its tenor, what will happen? See, taking a class in writing makes it necessary to listen and learn. We learn by listening to other's Voices and being allowed to have our say. It is a give-and-take. 



When beginning a story, the Voice is given free rein. The story emerges without any concern for what the reader does not know. I know that telling a story requires two things: 1) A story that reveals just enough, and 2) A reader with an imaginative mind. If the story doesn't engage the reader with an imaginative mind, then it is all for nothing. 

If those people want to see their own writing style and make an effort to change mine to fit their desires, I need to be careful to take what I need and leave the rest behind. It is our job to become better at listening to others while remaining true to ourselves. Bending to the desires of what is popular is not helpful and can destroy our confident Voice in the end.

Voice....do I even understand what it is? Those words inside my head that have me being grateful and hopeful when I awake, and creative when I write are mine. That is the way I write and even talk I suppose.

The challenge this week in the class has been a wonderful thing. I write in a “first person Voice”. It is in the end all about me here on my blog. My Voice may not be perfect, but I am still blogging after all these years! Amazing.

What are your voices telling you?

 b+


Thank you for reading.
FYI Articles recommended in class

Reference:
Louise De Salvo, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives (1999) Janet Conner, Writing Down Your Soul (2008) 

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