Hearing voices.*

It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be a writer, to sit down with a pen and a notebook and know you have a lot to say and also that those things you want to say have conveniently been scared away by the pen and notebook. It’s hard to block out the rest of the world and focus on these voices inside of your head that long to be heard. It’s hard to pride yourself on being a good communicator, then blank on how you want to communicate. Not how like in which medium, but how like which words will carry your message into the most minds and make sense?

The whole damn process is hard. Yet every day, I take my pen and notebook and sequester myself in the upstairs living room or in one of the guest bedrooms, and I stare outside of a window as the voices all tune in and tell me things. I write down what I can get – the tone of their voices, the personalities that shine through, the problems they have and the bad habits they have, and what they ate for dinner last night and how that meal is or isn’t giving them gas. The voices become clear and concise, real even. For a few hours, I am their therapist, making them real and fixing their broken parts and knowing them and falling a little in love with their whole-ness and their perfect imperfections.

And when we part, as we must because I have my life outside of the realm of fiction, it is not without a lot of hesitation. I pull myself away from their company and I feel them recede into whatever crevices of my imagination birthed them in the first place. And then, just as I had attended to my chosen duties as a writer, I attend to my chosen duties as a mom, and as a freelance writer/editor, and as a dream-chaser, and as a nursing student, and as a guitarist, and as a sister, and as a friend et al. And each time I take off one hat to wear another, or pile hats on top of my head, I do so not without a lot of hesitation. Because I love all of this. I do. It makes me a little nutty, sure. But haven’t you heard? All the best people are mad.

* We’ve been catching up on American TV and movie-watching, and my God, I’m unbelievably late on so many nuggets of awesomeness! The queue of DVDs next to the TV is kind of ridiculous.

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