I Hear Voices

First Grade, NYC

First Grade, NYC

I imagine people don’t know what a recluse I am. I socialize at church and in the homeschool gatherings stand tall, take initiative, make announcements. My parents, struggling to piece together a life in a country where they were Other, taught their little girl to write large and speak loudly. That’s me in the school play, mike in hand. (My husband would now like me to lower my voice by 20%.) I’m usually the one to notice inefficient or unjust ways things are done in our different communities and the one to speak up. So I can pull off extrovert and can be sociable because I know it’s rude to sit next to someone for half an hour and say nothing. But all I want, oh all I want is to bolt the door and write. Bury myself in what novelist Dani Shapiro calls the Cave to give attention to the voices in my head, meet myself on the page. Because inside is where so much of my life is.

I would probably long for love and community if I were granted the hermit’s wish (er, I think). ‘Tis human to want what is out of reach. Look at me glaringly not in step with the vogue practice of being present. No, I can’t be fully feeling the current of the moment around my feet when my head is in books, ideas, memory. In my defense: we women are wicked multitaskers.

Speaking of tasks, I asked Husband to scrape the stovetop stains last week. With equanimity he announced that he had just vacuumed and was done for the day. “I’ve done enough,” he declared pleasantly. I marveled at the male self-preservation mechanism in action. Granted, that was a lot of carpet. But it was the question corporate executives, business owners, moms, students knot themselves in angst over. When is enough? And he had solved the cosmic conundrum with such ease. Buddha Man just might be able to undo the problem of world peace. I laughed, “Done enough. Imagine mothers saying that. The world would stop.” No skin off his nose, he agreed – feet up, on the couch. I shouldn’t grouse about the responsibilities. It’s a blessing, not a burden, to have places to go, people to see, (aaalll these) things to do. George Eliot debuted at 50, Laura Ingalls Wilder at 65. There are others enjoying their second life publishing in their 70s and 80s. I don’t plan to wait another 30 years to go and to see all that’s in my head but in the meantime, I show up where I’m needed. Whether or not I can show up for myself, I will keep writing large and speak to be heard. Poor Husband.

176 thoughts on “I Hear Voices

  1. You are a very skilled writer. Using your implements very well. You have acquired a good stock, resources for use. I’m (needless to say..) impressed. Tell me please, the name of that school in the photo. I’m a displaced New Yorker (Bronx and Brooklyn, though familiar with all the Boroughs). Very good posts (poetic, lyrical, outstanding).

      • Thank you. I’ve made several outings as a young man to Queens, either to a Hispanic or a Arabic community. There was another area (can’t recollect the name). You’re welcome to the praise. See you soon (on posts). Sincerely; MAO

      • Well, they might have populated that particular area in later years, keep in mind I’ll be 65 the end of Dec. I used to go out there in my mid thirties. My boss lived out there, an Egyptian, Makram Basanty. And another guy I started out in the restaurant business with started a Blimpie in that same Arab neighborhood. Thing is, I’d be guessing if I tried to summon the name of the area (don’t want to be off). Will look up the link, thanks.

      • No, I grew up there at that time – roughly. But that makes sense that the Arabs had their own communities. Probably why I didn’t see them mixing with the Asians and Hispanics. Well, I learned something today. I had no idea there was an Arab population there!

      • Oh, I should point out, etiquette; (mia culpa), my bad, Eqyptians frown upon being called Arabs. I learned this from them. My boss was Egyptian. Just like upper Egypt looks down upon lower Egypt. It’s not hugely vocal, nor emotional. They both are very warm people, open arms in welcome and acceptation. They loved me to death.

      • This is the way I heard it; Lower Egypt denizens are known to be farmers, uneducated, unrefined, not as sophisticated. So those in upper Egypt are more cultured, city folk, etc. I even learned a joke directed at lower Egypt (in Arabic), only because my co-workers loved to teach me bad things.

      • Got it. (Learned ANOTHER thing today. Ha ha ha.) I was referring to the fact that lower E was actually Upper and upper, Lower. I know, confusing. At least that was ancient Egypt. The Nile flowed up and North was south and South north. Got me wondering if that is still the case.

    • “just let them know who’s in charge!” LOL. OKAY.

      I’m not a fan. That was the first book of hers I picked up. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but there is always plenty to learn from writers who’ve gone before.

    • Aw, what great (humble) feedback, MC. I could tell you blog what you love. I have posts on successful blogging if they interest any. Tap any title to open up the sidebar and go to BLOGGING under the Topics.


  2. It can get a bit reclusive at times, can’t it? I get it too. Sometimes I really need to be around people but many times the world is too loud or too shallow–and I just want to go write.

  3. Glad to connect with you after a long while, Diana, duly enabled by your liking my recent offering. Reminiscences of your school days are immensely engaging, mainly for the prompt that life begins at forty; the reckoning takes me to the thought that in another sixteen years, you will be bubbly teenager aiming at another go on all that you wanted to do but missed out on or failed to come good in the initial forty-year episode. Here is wishing for that consummation…best wishes.

  4. The introvert but extrovert n wanting to be polite… women are incredible multitaskers. I’m not married but I’d be a tad upset if my husband said hoovering was enough, haha. I’m enjoying reading your content!

  5. I would imagine you know that, but the main disorders causing insomnia are hypperactive/hypoactive adrenal glands and hypo-or hyperfunction of thyroid. Normally doctors do not check for these things if there isn’t anything else indicating increased or decreased function of these glands. If you have not tested these results, you certainly should. These glands are also responsible for almost any other organ, including brain function, blood pressure and cardiac function via potassium/magnesium/sodium balance. Sorry for posting this not in the right place, but I thought that might be helpful. The thyroid and adrenal gland functions often are not reviewed. It’s hard to say why people try to treat not the cause, but the symptom.

    • I was aware of these things =) but am so happy to see it all spelled out as you have, Inese. And I’ve started doing castor oil hot packs over both the thyroid and adrenals in the back (proud of me?) =). The thing is, imbalances show up on medical tests only when severe enough. Acupuncturists can tell way in advance when they’re off. Onion/ginger poultices also are and feel wonderful, though I should ease up and do it more briefly on the adrenals – very strong. Love the feedback. Thank you.


  6. “..So I can pull off extrovert and can be sociable because I know it’s rude to sit next to someone for half an hour and say nothing. But all I want, oh all I want is to bolt the door to my office and write. Bury myself in what novelist Dani Shapiro calls the cave to give attention to the voices in my head, meet myself on the page. Because inside is where so much of my life is…”
    You’ve written this for me so I don’t have squeeze it out on my own.. Is it a labor of love? Or a love of labor… It’s important for us, the seekers. We can’t hide anything because of the transparency of the tales we unknowingly or knowingly repeat. So we chase our tales hoping that it’s at least a satisfying story for our readers.

  7. Keep writing. Not surprised by appearing extrovert, but just like womb-like hermity existence to spin out some artistry. I see appearing extrovert, partially as survival tactic, as it has been for me in past decade or so. I realized much later that if I didn’t say anything publicly, I’ll be a door mat.

  8. It sounds like you have “done enough.”

    Now focus on the book or the series of books before you turn too old and can not easily remember what brought you to writing in the first place.

    On second thought, I don’t think you’ll ever forget that. You can simply shut the door to the office and go within to write up a storm.

    Michael J

Leave a Reply to Holistic Wayfarer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s