A Pledge to Let the Voices Out

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I’ve heard that all the stories have been told. Certainly there are quests and monsters and death and rebirth in various shapes and cognitions. Certainly there are lovers and fighters. There are humans and animals. There is the Great American West. I have read many, and I find them all valuable. Storytelling is our inheritance. Every culture, society, individual has a story, even if it has played before, that is unique in its voice and character. I want to find them. I want to tell them.

Stories flood my brain and flow through me. They spill from my lips and my fingertips. I strain to hold them back long enough to take a deep look into the turbid pool of imagination. I sink a hook and try to get a bite. Sometimes, like trout, the story just nibbles away like a minnow. Sometimes it gets away. Sometimes I land it, reel it in, hold its cold body in my hands and wrench the hook from its mouth. Sometimes I throw it back.

When the floods stop I wonder whose voice it was that guided me. Is it mine? Was I born with something inside me that has, my whole life, been trying to escape? Is there truly a muse? Or are the stories mine at all? When I write the girl who is clenching her fingers tightly against the string on a red balloon is she mine or did I take something from her? What about the man in a striped tie and brown trench coat waiting for dinner at the deli counter, is he telling a different story from the one I have provided? Is it wrong for me to put him to paper, or has the muse brought him to me on purpose? However likely it is that they find themselves in my writing, the dam can only hold back so much. They, or someone like them, will be pulled from the pool on the end of a hook.

Sometimes, like now, I leave the pool for too long and it stagnates. It grows thick with algae and mosquito larvae. Everything else dies back. There is an awful stench. I hate myself for letting it happen. So, like now, I dredge out the silt and slime and try to invite the fish back in. I want diversity. I want voices in my head. I miss them when I am away.

This is my authorial blog. A place for my voice, my voices, to be revealed, to become refined, to wither when the story ends.

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