On silence and finding your voice . . .
We’re often warned to be careful what we ask for . . . The Monkey’s Paw being one of the consummate cautionary tales.
I have always been a talker. It was nearly the only thing I ever got into trouble for at school. “Paula is a good student but she talks too much” was pretty much the standard remark on every single report card until High School when I learned to pass notes instead. In my mid-20’s when I landed a job doing Arts interviews for a NPR radio station 5 days a week, my father said “So, someone is finally going to pay you to do what you are best at.” Lately I’ve found myself tired of speaking in front of groups, after years of radio, theatre, outreach programs, teaching, leading seminars and workshops, doing interviews, writing and other sorts of word-wrangling for a living.
The day before yesterday someone asked me what I really wanted to do, if the whole issue of making money to pay bills were erased from the equation. I said I’d spend less time giving seminars and classes and spend most of my working time in my studio making art and hopefully communicating through my artwork.
Yesterday I was struck with laryngitis. The juxtaposition of these two events is not lost on me.
I’m confident that my enforced silence is temporary, but it got me to thinking about the whole issue of “losing your voice” and how prevalent it is even when we are in hot pursuit of our passion.
I’ve always been happiest when I am creating something. Set me loose in a studio with tons of art supplies and random stuff and I won’t come out until I’m really hungry. Yet somehow, over and over again I get sidetracked by the talking. Don’t get me wrong talking about the need for creating and creativity IS one of my passions and I think the message is worth spreading. However when it takes over and leaves me no time for actually creating . . . things get out of balance.
So I am taking this time of enforced silence as both a warning and gift. I’m going to spend more time in the studio and less online. I’m going to attempt to restore the balance and find my voice again.