Saturday, December 17, 2011

I've Lost My Voice

As many of you may know from my twitter feed on game days, I’m a huge Clemson Football fan.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone to a game, cheered my Tigers to victory only to wake the next day without a voice.  I’ve croaked for two days on occasion—usually after a particularly troublesome game.  The problem is: within the whirl of excitement while touchdowns are being made and quarterbacks are being sacked, I get lost in the moment.  It’s hard to think of the phone calls I need to make when I get home and the subsequent need to have a voice when it’s the 4th quarter and we’re down by 3 points. 

I’ve recently found the same theory holds true after enduring emotional turmoil in real life.  Only it’s not my voice that is scratchy this time—it’s my writing.  Writers often talk about their voice meaning the aura of the written words they produce.  I’ve heard people refer to a strong voice, visual voice and even voice bleed, but no one ever talks about a lost voice.  So, in the interest of bloggyness I’m going to lay it out on the table.   

Just as I am prone to get lost in the excitement of a football game, I have spent this week lost in emotion over the passing of my mother.  After 2 years of illness, she finally couldn’t take any more and collapsed on the floor last week—her heart having stopped.  I had convinced myself she was recovering; we were making plans.  She was going to get well and I was going to help her regain her strength.  But, none of that was to be. Since the morning I got the phone call, I’ve been mired in a pit of despair.  There have been many tears and errant thoughts of wanting to ask her a question, or tell her how I feel.  I wrote her obituary for the newspaper.  I huddled close to family while funeral arrangements were made and carried out.  I cleaned up the medical equipment that surrounded her the last 2 years of her life and disposed of piles of medications... 

But now I’m home.  Life goes on.  Bills still arrive in the mailbox.  Supper needs to be cooked each day.  Laundry must be washed.  And, I need to get back to work writing.  The question is how to do that when the only thoughts filling my mind are memories of my mom and worry for my dad?  Mr. Alpha Male told me I had a dam of words built up in my mind and I had to break through it.  So this blog post is my first experiment in the process of breaking down that dam.  I’m talking about this under the assumption that writing begets more writing.  As someone who has the standard output of 2,000 words a day—every day—it’s difficult to see the word counter at the bottom of this post and know that I have struggled for 2 days to write 486 words.  And yet all I can do is keep writing.  After all, time doesn’t heal all wounds.  It’s what you do with that time that heals wounds.  And, the time in my life will be spent writing.

Have you ever lost your voice?  What did you do to get it back?


Heather McGovern said...

I've lost my voice too, a couple of times actually: once after my dad passed & once because of extreme stress. I found I had to ride it out. If I forced it, everything came out ... Lame.

Eventually I was ready but rusty. I kept writing though and the rust fell away.

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