Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finding my voice

I knew it was happening, but I think today has confirmed that I have found my voice, at least my writing voice.  My speaking voice is still shaky.  I'm not sure I'll ever be good at speaking, but I don't mind.  Writing's always been my preferred mode of communication.  Words don't slide easily off my tongue, but my fingers seem to release them pretty well.

It's funny because as I sit here looking at the screen, I realize how accurate it is to use the word "find."  "Finding" is an even more appropriate description.  Every time I start to write a new blog post or any other piece of writing that I care about, it's the beginning of a search, an exploration of my mind or actually of the depth from which (I hope) the best of me comes.  I often start with vague notions of what I want to say, not quite seeing where those notions will take me.  Curious, I keep writing.  And the reality, whatever reality it is I need to see, begins to take shape, to crystallize before me.  I step forward (equally inward and outward), a new phrase or sentence, and the blur becomes a little clearer.  Another step, the colors before me brighten.  Funny, since I'm looking at a mostly black and white screen.  More steps, paragraphs, the focus sharpens.  When I'm finished writing, the picture, or at least the piece of the picture I'm meant to see for the moment, is ever so much clearer.

I wish I could say I am writing for you, but the truth is, this thing I am doing is about getting me to wherever I need to go.  I am only grateful that my process seems to help you take a step or two in the right direction, too.  Mine is a selfish pursuit that appears to be generous.  Thanks for indulging me...

I see today as a milestone because the post I wrote just yesterday, you know, that light and fluffy one about how people can kill other people, has reached more readers than any other post I've written.  It also made its way to a whole bunch of you more quickly than anything else I've posted.  I know because I can keep track of my blog stats and I do so more than I should probably admit (remember how before I was talking about selfish pursuits... maybe egotistical is a better description).  My second most-read post is from August of last year, if that tells you anything.

As I keep writing, I'm getting better at reaching the depths.  Every time I find what I didn't know I was looking for, I just want to keep reaching, keep exploring some more.   Again, I'm grateful that you're here to do it with me.

It is a little scary to think about today's milestone.  On the one hand, I desperately want my voice to be heard.  On the other, I don't want to disappoint and I know that what I need to see may be something that's already crystallized for you.  I guess I wrote about my fear of disappointing a few posts ago.  I've always held myself to a high standard and I don't like to fail, whatever that might mean in this context.  

As I write, I wonder where your voice is strongest.  What is it that helps you tap into your depths?  I hope what I am about to say is accurate.  For my dad, his art speaks his truth. For my brother it's science.  (I wish I shared my brother's passion for science, so that I could better honor his desire to talk about it.)  For my brother-in-law, it's music.  I make these claims because it is when they are immersed in those pursuits that their passion is clear.  It is from our passion that our voices emerge.

We all have a place (or places) we can go to explore and to find our voice, constantly and continually, allowing the picture we need to see to become clearer and bigger.  Some of us may be afraid to look...some may not know where to start.  All I can say is this: if you're not looking, start!  If you don't know what direction to turn, take a step in front of you and see what happens.  If you're unwilling to take a step, well, I don't know what to tell you. Today someone posted this Buddhist saying on Facebook: "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking."   Is it possible you're not facing in the right direction?  Maybe.  But you can't know until you take a few steps.  If the picture before you remains blurry and distorted, maybe you need to make a turn.  Maybe your voice is waiting to be found around a different bend.

I only hope you'll keep searching, because the reward will be great.  I hope that even after you've found your voice, you'll keep exploring the nuances of it, so you can attune it to the voices around you and create beautiful and previously impossible harmonies, impossible because your voice was not a part of them.  I've always been a fan of beautiful harmonies...  Let's unite our voices, each one unique and absolutely necessary to this world, and SING!

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