Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our Varying Internal Voices

More - Austin Texas, 2012

One of the reasons why I think that approaching memoir mind-first works so well is that by becoming curious about how our mind works, we access the various natural voices already occurring deep inside our own daily self-discussions. Instead of developing voices out of mid-air, we can discover them naturally existing, then give them body.

Another benefit is finding our own natural multiplicity (taken from Rita Carter's book title of the same name), which has therapeutic benefits as well. All of us are many-faceted, and in writing memoir, we can't help but encounter all these parts of ourselves. In inviting them into the discussion, by allowing them to show us the many versions of events that occurred in the past, we can help resolve - better than resolve - accept that the conflicts about "what happened" - whether traumatic or not - aren't just external (eg your sister recalls something else than you do) but internal.

Memoir isn't about trying to nail down "the version" but finding a felt sense that is closest to "a truth" - and that means including multiple facets, and, I believe, multiple voices. Whether or not this writer keeps the voices distinct or integrates them through writing and therapy is up to her - regardless, getting to experience it first hand through her raw writing here really shows us the power of memory and mind and multiplicity.

When I speak of resistance, this is it. The deep, deep fears. What parts of us really, really don't want to share anything. If we don't give them voice, acknowledge them, we will never find a way to write with less suffering involved. 

Student writing by KA.

I don't feel like writing because I'm in a lot of physical pain. Actually, I see now it's not the physical pain that makes me not want to write, it's the voices below the physical pain. The seething pit of intestines trying to convince me, again, that…

I stopped writing…

I hear the words, I feel the words… But they hide from the page.

Is it you, the listener, the reader, that I want to hide from? Or, is it myself? Or, isn't that part of myself that does that speaking?

For years now… Again, I stopped writing.