Letter from Your “Voice”

Letter from Your “Voice”

While attending the 32nd annual Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh this weekend, speaker JD Dunbar challenged us to write a letter to our “voice,” thanking it, and identifying those favorite words which ring clearly. For me that’s “shiz,” “gi-huge-ic,” and “traumified.”

Have you ever thought about what makes your voice unique?

It only takes one word of a phone call for most of us to identify who’s on the line. We would never mistake James Earl Jones for George Clooney.

In writing, we often talk about an author’s “voice” even though they rarely open their mouths. (Oh, but when they do…) The same is true in the field of music composition. Once you’ve heard Mozart and Aaron Copland, you’ll never confuse their styles.

Artists also have a voice, some a combination of their chosen medium (watercolor, acrylics, perhaps colored pencil) and their subject matter. I mean, you could spot a Georgia O’Keefe at 20 meters as long as it was a flower shaped like girlie parts. But would you recognize this as coming from the same artist?

Not so much, right?

This week I rise to JD’s challenge and pose my own to you…

Dear V.O.D. (voice o’ Demi):
Sorry for the workout I put you through this weekend. I know you would’ve preferred to sit in the sunshine and sip a Benadryl-laced martini. Instead, I forced you past the edge of your comfort zone, not once, but twice, and each time you spoke with empathy yet tough love. “Suck it up, buttercup.”

It’s taken a long time to get to know you. Probably because you spent so much time hiding behind others and mimicking their less awkward words and phrases. But now that we’re on speaking terms, I confess I find you more fun to be around than the predictable but practiced voices of restraint. You taunt them, “Phuckit,” and step forward into traffic before I can pull you back onto the curb with me. I’m always relieved and grateful when, like an 80’s game of Frogger, we make it to the other side without being hit by a Mack truck.

Occasionally, you do embarrass me — like that one time in Orlando after the third margarita — but for the most part I’m glad to have finally made friends with you. You believe in me more than I do, and three-quarters of the time, you’ve volunteered me for something big, scary, and work-like (and ultimately loads of fun) before I even realize I should put a leash on you.

But my darling, V.O.D., at least you recognize that we shouldn’t be so scared of saying things like “hello” and “what’s your name.” Those were phrases I never could master on my own. I guess it’s like building vocabulary in a foreign language and I shouldn’t expect fluency after just 50 years.

Most of all, I’m glad you replace the pain with humor. I’m glad you don’t let me wallow. And I’m grateful you make me less socially awkward.

Love, MIV (my inside voice)

I’d love to hear about your favorite words and the journey you’re on to discover your own most authentic voice. Whether it sounds like Marge Simpson or Samuel L. Jackson, I hope you learn to celebrate the gift of speech and the miracle of making connections and building relationships!

Cheers, Demi

I’m honored to be part of the launch of this anthology… Life Coach: 22 Expert Life Coaches Help You Navigate Life Challenges to Achieve Your Goals. Thanks to all of you for helping make this a #1 Kindle best-selling book! Still on sale for just $0.99 today. I’m featured in Chapter 5!

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