As we finish the second week of NaNoWriMo, we welcome guest blogger, Barbara Joy Beatus, to help us find our voice on the page though our work on the mat. – SL
Our voices on the page, like our real voices in life, fluctuate. We translate our perception of a single moment and the moments of our characters into our writing. Our truth is always changing. The truth changes with our characters, with our emotional state and with each piece that we work on. If you try to find your “real” voice, all you have to do is look at the one you’re using in the moment.
If your voice is true to how you feel, then how can it be anything but real? “Real” is like happily ever after— it operates on a day-by-day basis. And yet… there does seem to be something about us that is unique, that doesn’t ever really shift.
In some traditions, this place is the soul. In Buddhism there is no soul, but emptiness, a nothingness we are all born into and die back into. Whichever way you look at it, this is the place of oneness. It is the very fabric of our existence, of being born, of being a part of nature. We always have access to that place; we are that place, and when we tap into that space within ourselves or within other books or within other artists, we are opening into one of the many voices of the entire world.
We can play with different voices and the voices of our favorite writers, we can borrow from others’ translation of human experiences because the ever-changing voice that belongs to the universe is always available to us, in us and as us. We are accessing a space available to us simply by being alive in this world.
People recognize themselves in stories because of this simple fact: we are all completely, strangely, even unbelievably, the same inside. In yoga philosophy, we look to our teachers, our gurus. It is that way across the universe: people look to their elders to understand the miracle of being alive through those who came before them. The longer we live, we more we find that most of us reach the same conclusions and that nothing is really new. But we are always new in our own particular burning way.
We read to live other lives very different from our own, but really we don’t have to go very far. We are only able to relate to characters who seem so different from ourselves because they aren’t that different. We may have completely diverse experiences, but our reactions, our thoughts and feelings, our human experience, is all the same. This is how we can write with realism about places far away and in the past and in the future. Research alone doesn’t do it, our common humanity does. You contain the whole world and just like your voice, it’s constantly changing.
Barbara Joy Beatus, E-RYT, MPA is in love with words, people, and yoga. When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching breath-centered yoga, trying to think deep thoughts and then trying not to think at all. Find her online at barbarajoybeatus.com or tweet at her @bjoybeatus.