Finding My Voice
One of the most traumatic experiences one can have as an artist is to wake up one day and realize you no longer have the desire to express yourself in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed. Whether you’re a painter, or musician, or dancer; losing your mode of self-expression can be devastating. It was almost two years to the day that I lost my artistic sensibility, my voice. And I mean that in the most allegory sense. I could tell you that it was a series of events that slowly tore away at my talent; a debilitating divorce, the death of a loved one, or the pressure of conforming to a lifestyle I had no business being in.
Indeed, for a writer, it is these kind of events that typically prompt one to write. And it usually was for me. To me, an artist’s passion, simply put, is the compulsory need to express yourself in whatever means YOU FEEL YOU MUST. Waking up from a dream in the middle of the night to put words on the pad next to your bed. Shifting attention from the classroom to fully realize a gleaned idea. Watching a relationship or situation unfold at the laundromat, and hurrying home to finish the story on paper.
Writing has always been my escape, since those awkward and sometimes cruel teenage years. It would come to me in any form – rhythmic pentameter, narrative prose, visual expression, standup comedy, sketches, even rap lyrics. The words were always for my eyes only, a textual scrapbook of personal memories, good and bad, and sometimes silly. And I mean that in the best, ill-timed comedic way.
So what does one do when they suddenly lose their silent life partner? Their metaphorical rock? One physically mourns.
I told myself that the stages of grief I was experiencing were due to the other losses in my life; my marriage, my father, my good nature. But I was dead wrong. It was because I lost the single most important part of my individual life – my art.
I use the word “lost.” This is a lie. I know now, that I actually ran screaming from it. Pouring myself into other diversions; music, movies, bad relationships. I was so desperate to hide from it, that I limped through the rest of grad school, and subsequently limped through my first teaching job. What had been my childhood savior, my lifelong friend and trusted partner was now the monster under my bed. It cost me a lot of things – my new teaching job, for one. And we all know what you can lose once that domino falls.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I really did try to write. I attempted several special interest blogs; travel, education, even a writer’s blog. But inside my head? Nothing….not even crickets.
So here I am two years later, having (mostly) recovered from the other losses, and wondering what happened to my relationship with my voice. (One should always reflect on these learning moments, it’s a teaching thing.) I realize my journey back to this place has been incredibly rich with characters, antagonist and protagonist alike; alive with vivid color and tone; rife with heart-stopping action and heart-breaking illusion; comedies, and tragedies and horror. It seems those “diversions” I stumbled upon were little pots of gold metaphor, my own hidden and secret inspiration that will seed stories for years to come.
When I went back those two years to reflect on my loss, I came to realize that it was because of the attention. I had written several things which got some people’s attention (positive and negative reviews), and it surprised me – it scared me (almost) to death. Of course, that opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms that I could speculate on.
But I won’t. You see, I have a few blogs to post, a screenplay to finish, some lyrics to compose and research to do on a book idea. The crickets are seriously annoying me right now.