Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

From the Heart

Photo by Laura Bear
As the editing process for my debut novel winds down: the final proof reading, the cover choice, the author photo (yikes!); as we hurtle through the holiday season (I'm not ready!); as I anticipate my 50th year on this earth; as I watch my only son marry his sweetheart in the new year (how did I get this old so fast?), I find myself erupting in a jumble of emotions. In a short few months, I will be a published author, a half century old, and a mother-in-law, in that order. I have anticipated the birth of my first book with the same trepidation and excitement of the birth of my son. The excitement--and yes, fear--of my only child pledging his life to a another wonderful individual cracks my heart open further than I ever imagined. The birth of a book has some of the same parallels. For two and a half years of my life, I labored, cursed, laughed, fumed, and bled over the pages to make them come alive. I want to jump and shout and cry and laugh and SING about all of this, but I will write because that is what I do. I am rusty. I am inferior. I am NOT Harper Lee. Or Hemingway. Or Plath. Or King. Or Lamott. I am only me. A small voice, but it's mine. So much to learn, so much to do, so little time.

Every one of us has a voice, though. Even the ones who can't speak. In my other career, I work with people who struggle with the expression and understanding of language every day: language lost through stroke or brain injury. What was once so natural becomes a strangled struggle to utter a single volitional sound or a constant failure to find the right word. Words once taken for granted become wispy figments for those who travel in the twisted world of the injured brain. I love language. Written language, poetry, and story-telling create a vivid alternate world for those who can partake. What happens when that world is cut off? Language is communication: written, spoken, painted, drawn, numeric, gestured--no matter the mode, we strive to communicate our thoughts, ideas, needs, desires. We are here to interact with others. Human beings need language in some form to become both part of and separate from the whole of humanity. Each voice is an important thread in the tapestry of this giant work of art we call Earth. The differences are essential to the strength and beauty of this world. Each one, fragile on its own, but strong in union. Different, unique, but together. No one insignificant. No one discarded. I expect a lot from language. From people. From myself. I want to be moved. I want to feel as much as I can. I want to know as much as possible. I wish this for all of you, too. For all of us. Thank you for checking in. I would love to hear your voice.