Saturday, July 17, 2010

A World of Voices

My friend once told me that I could never be a real writer.

“Why?” I asked him.

He told me that a writer could express every human emotion in the book and several others that aren’t in any books. Poetry and prose are things that require a writer to show human emotion and convey it to reader. The reader then feels those same emotions as if he/she was the characters in the story or poem. If I could convey that, then I was a writer in his eyes.

“What emotions and feelings are you looking for?”

He told me that he wanted all of them to be conveyed. “The revenge that one feels when the world devours his brother alive, the lovely sight of a sister getting married, the pains of a family divorce, the ending of being enemies, the beginning of friendships, how it feels to be rich or poor, how it feels to go on a roller-coaster for the very first time. I want to feel every emotion as a reader and you have to convey it to me.”

I told him I was doing my best.

He shoved the papers into my hands. “Your best isn’t good enough.”

It’s a writer’s job to make the readers care. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a reason for the readers to pick up a book at all. My friend was right and I needed a new way of conveying my messages and stories, because my old one wasn’t good enough for my readers.

How was I supposed to feel all those emotions and feelings?

The loss of a loved one. A broken heart. Love at first sight. Powerful friendships. Broken bonds. It just all started to aggravate me really. So, I stared at the blank page and felt the world’s vibrations run through my fingertips as I typed the words, “Right now.”

And more words began to follow. I saw a girl standing at the subway station with a bomb in her hands. All the pain she felt about how she was an outcast in the world for being deaf. I felt her emotions, her strength, and her weaknesses as soon as I typed those two words. It was as if we were connected for that one instant. Our minds, our bodies and our souls were aligned.

I tried it again a few days later and typed the words again, “Right now.”

I felt another alignment, but with a different person in the world. I felt the annoyance of a “bluebird,” which knocked on a man’s window glass. That “bluebird” was actually a beautiful woman. I felt that man’s pain as he listened to her stories. I felt the same shock as the man felt when he heard that the “bluebird” killed her lover and wanted to be with the man. I listened to the sweet silence as she dropped herself from the windowsill and didn’t bother to flap her “wings.”

I gave my friend all of the poems that started with those two words. He couldn’t believe how real they felt. The strength of emotions that were conveyed were strong in his eyes.

“You’re still an amateur though,” he told me.

“I know,” I took the papers back from him, “but at least I’m trying.”

“Well,” he gave a big, white smile, “you’re starting to succeed. So, how did you do it?”

“I felt for my characters like never before. I felt the world’s heartbeat. I felt the tears of my characters on my cheeks. I listened for their laughter and their screams. The world turns and I feel what turns it.”

“And what’s that? Gravity? The sun? God?”

“What turns the earth, in my mind, is not any of those. It’s the emotions and feelings of all those people in the world. One’s pain, another’s happiness, someone’s lucky day, someone else’s bad. These are all my characters, all inside my head, and I finally realized that I’ve found the beginning of what a writer calls ‘his voice.’ But you know what’s funny? A writer’s voice is not a singular thing. It’s a world of voices. Each one of them wants to tell a story. It’s my job to channel all those voices onto paper and place those voices into the reader’s minds and ears. I’ve realized that now.”

“You’re still an amateur though, Mr. Philosopher,” he laughed aloud as he slapped my back.

“I know, but someday I’ll make this world in my head sing to all my readers. It’s going to take a lot of time, so I might as well start now.”

“You’re right; you got a pretty big head. It’s definitely going to take some time.” We both laughed before we ended the topic and moved onto another.


Words A Day said...

you know, just being you and aware of everything around you, will do. The small things, the details of your own life... but you're right, writing isnt about "knowing" its about listening... Is the voice your muse? Your inner critic pushing your further, i feel we don't need to go outside but deeper..

The Words Crafter said...

This, was great. I love how you channeled this journey onto paper. How you became aware. For me, the characters are born in my head. I'm them. They're me. I lead the journey for a time, then they take over. And you're right. It's not a singular thing. My (our) duty, calling, is to make sure their voices are heard in such a way as to make them real, cause them to impact, make a mark. I think you're well on your way in your journey...

Nicole MacDonald said...

...blunt much! And if that's his theory on standards then I again have to wonder how sooooo many CRUD writers get published... Arrgghh.

Okay minor vent over ;p If it challenges you to do better then good :)

Mory said...

Wow, you are indeed a writer.This is a masterpiece. your friend was right, sometime i too feel that am not doing my best, that i didn't connect with others. i love loved loved this.

Great work.

Chary Johnson said...

Very powerful. Your friend was somewhat blunt and could have given better feedback by suggesting ways of improving your writing. However, it all worked out in the end. Great post. :D

Tabitha Bird said...

You are a WRITER. Don't let anyone tell you different. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

whatever works for you to make you become a better writer, but if I had to hang out with that guy, I wouldn't.

WritingNut said...

I agree with everyone here - you ARE a writer, and have an amazing way of expressing your feelings and conveying emotions - you are doing a GREAT job, and don't let anyone tell you differently, friend or not. Personally, I too think he could have been a little more constructive with his feedback.

Vatche said...

Hey, Words a Day!

Maybe the voices might be my muse's multi-personality disorder whispering into my ear, but anyway... you're right that a writer shouldn't only touch on the surface of things but dive deeper.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hello, The Words Crafter!

I'm glad you enjoyed the piece! :D

Characters are also born in my mind and I feel the same when guiding my fingers across the keys. They suddenly take over the laptop and start typing themselves. I do no thinking whatsoever while they do their thing.

It is our duty to make their voices heard. Write on and you're doing well also in your own journey!

Vatche said...

Ohla, Nicole!

Yes, my friend is very blunt, but I like that trait about him! I have my own meltdowns with him, but still he's there for me when I need him and he's awesome because of that.

I also agree with you that many "CRUD" writers are published nowadays, but he's making sure that I don't become one of them. :D

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hey, Mory!

Thank you for your kind, kind words. I appreciate them really. I'm glad that you really connected with the piece and enjoyed it.

Write on and always do your best!

Vatche said...

Hey, Chary(That's a cool name.)!

Yes, my friend is often times very blunt, but still that's one of the traits that I like about him. Regardless of telling me what to do about my writing technique or not, he had helped me. It did all work out in the end, huh?

Write on!

Vatche said...

Hello, Tabitha!

Thank you! You're a writer yourself and don't let that change because someone else says different.

Write on!

Vatche said...

Ohla, Piedmont Writer!

Whatever works, I guess, right? As for hanging out with him, he's always joking around about my writing and being Mr. Blunt, which is what I admire about him because I could never be like that. He tells me things truthfully, I believe, at times.

So, write on and do whatever it takes!

Vatche said...

Hey, Writing Nut!

Thank you for your awesome words. I'm glad to hear so many kind things from all of you guys and I really appreciate it. Your words are precious to me.

Also, yes, next time I'll complain to him that he should be more constructive with his criticism, but still it all worked out in the end.

Write on and never stop!

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