Friday, June 01, 2012


There are all types of voices. Voices of reason, voices of insanity, voices that make you want to howl at the moon, voices that you can listen to for hours just for their sound, voices of authority that tell you what to do, and when to do it. Persuasive voices that try to convince you that what they are telling you is either good for you too, true, or both. Voices that tell us to have one more beer, what could it hurt? Voices that try to sell us something, insurance, drugs, sex, love, rock and roll, or anything else we could possibly want. Voices of exhortation that try to get you to make that one final push for god, king, or country, or all three. Voices that whisper terrible things in your ear much like Iago does to Othello. Voices that you recognize at an instant, and in that recognition you know exactly what they are going to say. Voices in your head that are in constant disagreement with themselves. One telling you to do the 'right' thing, one telling you to just 'do what the fuck you want'.

We all are bombarded by these voices all the time. We can hope that they aren't the 'voices in our heads' that make us wobble into a McDonald's with a pistol and shoot the place up, but I am sure that has happened before. But those people were insane, and our voices aren't nearly as disturbing are they?  Managing these voices can be quite difficult, and sometimes we just want them all to stop. We just want to sleep, or watch the boob tube and let the TV voices wash over us gentle as a spring rain shower. We don't want to have to think, or to reason with these voices, we just want a moment of peace. Even if you are able to obtain that peace and quite where the only voices you are under assault by are your own, you still are under assault.

In many ways, this assault is the one you are least able to resist, how do you turn off your own voice(s)? Lying very still, all communication devices turned off, and no music softly playing in the background? Usually, doesn't work, at least not right away. The voices are still there, and now that they have got your undivided fucking attention, they are going to have a field day with you.  Maybe those little white pills the kindly doctor gave you will help, but taking them seems to be an act of cowardice doesn't it? Sure they will put a stop to the voices for the moment, but they also make you groggy in the morning, and you don't really want to have to take them forever.  Addiction to get away from the voices is not something that you are willing to entertain as an solution.

Those voices are quite happy you chose the brave man's way out, and didn't take the pill that quells their incessant humming. The droning they provide in your head is like white noise, but not quite white, because you can, if you pay attention (and you are paying attention aren't you?) you can ascertain what they are saying to you. To you, for you, about you.  They are quite good at telling you all sorts of things you probably don't want to hear. The critical voice that makes its life's work to pick apart your day like a dog worrying a bone. Telling you all the mistakes you've made in the last 24 hours. And then of course, while they are telling you about your recent mistakes they go ahead and compare those mistakes with the mistakes you've made in, say, the last decade of your life. It takes a special glee in showing/telling you how you keep repeating the same mistake(s) over and over. That makes the critical voice as happy as a pirate that just sailed upon a fat, overloaded, unguarded Spanish treasure galleon upon a lee shore.

Those mistakes (the critical voice will tell you) are almost too numerous to mention, but the voice will still give it a shot to catalog them all while you toss and turn, and pray for it to stop.  This is not one of those situations where you can kill the messenger, that would certainly stop the voices, but it is a bit of taking a hammer to a fly.  The wonderful thing about this critical voice is that it is a mimic, and a thief. It can mimic the voice it needs to in order to inflict the most damage on your psyche. It is a thief in that it can steal/access your visual memory and provide you with a moving picture of your disaster(s) that it wants you to see on a loop. Make no mistake the critical voice is not your friend, and is, in many ways, unstoppable. Sure, somewhere in your mind (hopefully) is the soothing voice of someone (maybe your dear, old mum?) that will tell you not to listen to that mean, bad critical voice. Though sometimes, maybe more oft than not the soothing voice isn't strong enough to take down the critical voice.

The only voice that has a chance to 'out talk' the critical voice is the voice that you lot are 'hearing' now. That is the creative voice. The voice that is writing this post after a night of wrestling (and losing?) with the critical voice. The voice that hammers on the inside of my skull telling me 'to get the fuck up and write you loser.' 'It's the only way to ensure the critical voice doesn't always win.' The creative voice is right, and while it can't be held responsible for the substandard nature of the creations that come from its fight with the critical voice, it at least tries. It can't please everyone (least of all me), but it makes the attempt, and if the result is hated, well that isn't the creative voice's fault. It can only work with the material it has at hand. It is not standing upon the shoulders of giants, and sometimes it lacks the vision, but without it there might be dead messengers everywhere.  

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