Monday, September 12, 2011

The Voices in My Head

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?


Tim of Angle said...

"Get a real job."

Patricia Stoltey said...

Mine are telling me I only have a couple of weeks to final edit my manuscript and send it to the agent who agreed to look at it. Awwk!

Jenny said...

Tim, don't listen to that one!

Very exciting, Pat! I know you can get it ready in time.

Dean K Miller said...

Some are trying to stay hidden, afraid of being exposed. A couple are glad they are on vacation, knowing they'll get back to work soon. The few that are the loudest are competing to be heard, and unfortunately, are all in different they don't care how much they talk over each other.

John Paul McKinney said...

At this time of year when I was younger mine would say, "We miss the kids." Now they're saying, "We miss the grandkids."

LJ Maggie said...

My MC is saying she wants a new name, she isn't really digging it anymore.

Jenny said...

Dean, I think we all need a good discussion moderator :)

John Paul, your comment made me say "awww." I hope you had a good summer with the grandkids!

LJ Maggie, sometimes character names are harder than titles. Good luck!

Kay Theodoratus said...

The voices in my head make me a happy hermit.

I'm always surprised at the people who live in my head ... some even whisper their stories to me.

martha said...
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