Post by Jenny
My boys have been in school for three weeks now, and the soundtrack that accompanies summer vacation at my house has come to an end. During the day, I no longer hear brothers joking around, telling stories, and picking on each other. I’m not serenaded by trumpet and guitar practice or Harry Potter and Star Wars video games. No tween-agers drop by with their boisterous voices and carefree door-slamming.
Until about 3:00 in the afternoon, it’s pretty darn quiet around here. I hear the occasional lawn mower, my washing machine thumps and spins, my old dog thwacks her tail when she thinks something food-related might happen. But this September silence is not such a bad thing, because it helps me hear the voices in my head.
Lest you worry about my health, mental and otherwise, rest assured that I’m not having auditory hallucinations. Also known as paracusia, they can be indicative of schizophrenia, temporal lobe epilepsy, brain tumors, Wilson’s disease, porphyria, sarcoidosis, and a bunch of other stuff I’ve happily never heard of.
No, my condition is more along the lines of Chronic Mental Composing of Conversations Between New and/or Familiar Imagined Characters Who Just Might Want Me to Write (or Keep Writing) About Them Someday in the Immediate or Distant Future. Because that’s pretty lengthy—even by medical standards—it’s easier to say that my affliction is also known as Being a Writer.
I’m certainly glad to have ears that work, for I enjoy listening to music and NPR and snarky coffee-shop patrons. But silence helps me by making room in my head for some good old creative cognition. Someone famous probably already said this, but a writer who is alone with his or her thoughts is never really alone. We can, and do, fit entire worlds in our heads. What’s more, we give the people/creatures/politicians who live there something to talk about.
So what are the voices in my head saying these days? Some are introducing themselves for the first time, some are complaining that I’ve been ignoring them (they’ve got me there, I’m afraid), and others are informing me that they took a vote while I was at the pool and they want a comprehensive plot revision and better dental. And they’re all reminding me that summer is over, and it’s time to get busy.
What do your writing voices have to say?