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Speaking Your Truth

A little while back, a good friend gave me a book as a gift called “Giving Voice to Bear.” Bears are my power animal and totems. I shape shift into a bear. My first blog was in the voice of the bear. I wrote about what my inner bear was thinking and what she would have said if she could speak in our language.

                                 ("Shapeshifting to Bear" by Stephanie Rose Bird, chalk pastel)

I have a very vocal household of animals. Two parrots, one African Grey and one Nanday Conure both vocalize all day long. If you know anything about Nanday Conure’s you know that they have a very high pitched screech that they make when they are feeling joy or are upset. It takes time to learn to read which is which. Meanwhile yours ears are assaulted. They are beautiful birds however, very smart, playful and they talk. Ours says “who is it” when anyone comes to the front door and it sounds very sweet coming from his tiny vocal chords. The conure is also a watch bird, letting us know when someone is pulling up on the driveway or if they are at the front door. He vocalizes all of that in different, subtle ways. African Greys are noted for their speaking ability. Ours has an uncanny way of saying “hello” in either my distinct voice or my husband’s outside voice, right before the telephone rings. He mimics the cat perfectly, having learned the new kitten’s way of speaking, rather than expressing our old cat, who has passed away. He cajoles the dog, by asking if he is okay by name. Birds and their vocalizations are fascinating.


Quite a few of my recent posts in one way or another are about voice. For example, “Soul Singing and Sirens,” “Finding Peace in OM,” and “Pagans and Prayer.” Singing, chanting and prayer are all important and meaningful ways we use our voice.

When a friend or loved one dies, one of the most acute senses of loss comes through the absence of that person’s voice, expressed through laughter, shared as a whisper or through a welcomed phone call. Their voices become ephemeral memories for most of us, unless they have been preserved on film or tape. Still, their voices and the things they shared through their stories reverberate in our heads.



I like writing in different voices in the same book. I wrote in too many voices in my first novel. In my current book I am writing in first person but more than one person speaks to the reader from their unique perspective. My newest novel is all about voice. You get to imagine the enchanting voices of the muses and sirens alongside the sultry soul singing of the blues man. The main character gets possessed and the villain speaks through her. This main character has to struggle to regain her true voice. 

The first part of the story is told by the blues man’s daughter and the second part is in the siren’s voice. This gives me the opportunity to expand the reader’s view of various situations and the characters within the story.

Readers have said they like my voice as a writer. Voice is vital to every writer, as important as it is to a singer. I do have trouble voicing my inner most feelings. This has manifested in troubling dreams such as me reaching into my mouth with a long fork and stabbing the frog in my throat so I can speak. That dream is rich in metaphor. The art therapist I work with wants me to create a bell necklace. As it moves and makes it delicate little sound, it will remind me to vocalize my thoughts, clearly and precisely. I have not yet made the necklace but have found a new way to express my voice. That is through this blog and also through my books.


A to Z Challenge—“V” is for Voice

Comments

  1. A writer's voice is pivotal in stories. Many people don't realize how much writers use voice, but we do! :)

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  2. Your African Greys probably have an ability to sense what is inaudible to human ears before we actually hear the telephone start to ring, don't they?

    About the voices in novels, my favorite Japanese writer, Tsuji Kunio, often makes use of multiple voices in one story, which I find very effective. -- Only one of his novels seems to have been translated into English, though.--

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    1. My grey freaks me out by answering the phone before it rings but perhaps birds can be psychics too. I will look up Tsuji Kunio. I have read Japanese authors while visiting Japan and enjoyed the books very much.

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  3. Very interesting post - I really like your "Shapeshifting to Bear" piece. I hope that you are able to channel that villain voice through your main character - good luck! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comments Marci.

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  4. So glad to find this today! I was raised in a "children are to be seen and not heard" household and I learned the lesson very well. I am finally at 49 dropping the hesitation to use my voice fully and honestly. It has been a journey and the importance of not losing my voice has shown itself to me in many ways.

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    1. Conlee, I was raised in exactly the same type of house. Must be a thing of our generation because I am close to you in age. It is stymieing to a child's voice for life to treat them like that as youth. It really does take people like us longer to find that voice and speak its truths. Thanks for coming here and sharing.

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  5. Your writing experiments with voice sound interesting!

    Yvonne

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    1. Yes, now I just need to ground them in practice!

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  6. I really enjoyed your post and would be very interested to read the book your working on now. I love the concept of it. As a writer, I am finding my voice and really enjoying playing around with different styles and paying attention to where I whisper and where I sing it out loud. Thanks for sharing this piece Stephanie! It gave me some things to think about.
    Renata

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    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad I gave you some things to think about and I do hope you'll stop back to hear more as my novel develops.

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  7. Thank you Stephanie for your voice on this post. Extraordinary how long ot can take for our voice to find its expression whether through writing art music and various other ways



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    1. Susan, yes, isn't it the truth? With consistency it does come through eventually.

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  8. Voice is what makes me purchase a book. I can read about anything if I love the voice.

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