I walk, most nights, home alone, in the delicious moist air of near summer. I should spend the time writing, in my head. Plotting and thinking and compiling. But I don’t. I find it hard to cobble together coherence, to mold experience and wisdom from the clay that surrounds me.
I should have a voice.
This rattles around my head most days, as I’m reading, as I’m studying how someone else builds a story, creates a person from ink and wood fibre, until they stand, firm behind them, holding their hands out with nameplates and short bios. I should know how to create this, how to parse wisdom and hope into the mouths of those people I create.
Farce. I cannot do this. My people are dry, and tired, throwing themselves into the wind to inject some sort of life, a false vibrancy into their fragile limbs.
Where is my voice?
Perhaps I have not been sufficiently humbled, or have yet to find the way, the one way, the encouraged way, to hold those limbs up myself, give them blood and tissue. Maybe I’ve been afraid to open my fingers and let loose these dogs, these people, these creations.
Maybe there’s a honesty that even I flee from, much as the voice itself cowers in a corner, just out of sight. I know you’re there little one….I just can’t draw you out. Perhaps my voice has gone feral with fear.
Why my voice? Why?
Year after year, I’ve heard that I have this agile talent, hoarded inside me, some sort of natural gift to put one word before the other so it paints visions in the eyes of others. Somehow, I’ve taken this to mean it should be easy, that I should produce my version of a Pollack or a Carr without thought, or effort or struggle.
But does art need struggle? Does my voice need more of a battle to come out? Do I need to succumb to the oft cited myth that manic depressives make better artists because they’re sensitive and broody and willing to cast loose into their illness? Is my problem that I’m holding to or not letting go?
The urge is here-the quivering, jelly like drive to work-to write, to produce. Yet the voice behind the will-it’s missing. The thoughts, they scatter in my mind, seeds on wind, impossible to catch in hand.
Voice? Can we put you back together?