jeannineatkins (jeannineatkins) wrote,

Those Voices in Our Heads

Yesterday I had tea and cookies, after a walk, with a friend. We talked about our writing – hers feeling somewhat fragile at the moment, but she devotes two sacred mornings a week– and the illnesses and deaths of good friends. My friend’s friend died almost six years ago, which she sometimes can’t believe. My friend Pat died more recently, and I talked about how I’m doing okay, but am not what I’d come to feel familiar with as “myself.” Sometimes I see the sun and a bowl of blueberries on the table in the porch, the dogs sleepy at my feet, my husband doing his morning’s reading, and this little voice comes: these are good things. Oh, yeah. Of course.

The narrator with her arrow displays – blue sky: good! – is coming to me less and less. Life, as they always tell you, does its going on thing. But my friend made the connection of this inner narrator to the one she sometimes hears when writing. My narrator has learned patience over the years, but hers will mock the process, tear into the drafts before they’ve had a chance to breathe, want to shove those drafts to an internal editor seconds after they’ve reached paper, which is way way too early.

I remember tortured writing moments when I heard those voices, and I feel lucky they’ve mostly faded. Some of that must be the time thing. Some of it is hearing them, sometimes typing the mean words right onto my paper, then when editing time comes, happily selecting them all in a pretty blue and hitting delete. Ha! I gave you words a chance, now get lost. I suppose all of us have a variety of voices in our heads. When we sit with paper, we sit with them, and get to decide which we’ll honor and which will fade, winding in and out like grief. Everything comes in and everything can go out, but we get to choose what we want to be loudest, and what we want to last. Not chasing tragedy or a love story or a great battle between good and evil, but just trying to make one small thing – our selves, a story – whole.
Tags: writing process
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