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Finding your voice, finding your treasure

I caught a line from a documentary on the sordid life of Lord George Byron, the poet.

A friend of his said to young Byron, “You have a treasure. You found your voice.”

I’ve been looking for my voice for years and surprisingly it found me in these weekly columns. I reverence this little jewel of a column and I hold it loosely in my hands. Maybe it’s like the age-old question: When the large tree falls in the forest, does it make noise if no one is there to hear? It feels like I’ve made a lot of noise in my lifetime. I’ve cut down some large trees; seemingly no one was there to hear. If they did, I didn’t know about it. By your comments, this column is being heard. I am most grateful. Thank you.

A lady told me how hard it was for her to open up in a group. She says she becomes tongue-tied and she totally embarrasses herself. She mixes up words and makes a fool of herself on the phone. As she told me how she felt, she opened a place in me I hadn’t visited in years.

I told her, “I use to be the same way. It was a lifetime ago. I just remember being so bottled up with fear and embarrassment, I didn’t dare try to express myself. I couldn’t even if I tried. I couldn’t say it and I surely couldn’t write it. There was no sign in sight that I might have a voice in words one day.”

We all need to express ourselves, that’s how we are made. Painting was my way of expression. I threw myself into painting 45 years ago and am still painting today. Words didn’t come easy; even titling my paintings was hard. A friend whose words trickled off her tongue like honey gave my paintings great swelling titles. I enjoyed her titles as much as I did my paintings. But they weren’t my words.

So how do we find this treasure we call our voice? We have a certain passion that screams inside of us, so loud we can’t ignore it. It’s our voice in the rough. But it’s not ready to be heard, it’s not polished or cut and people do not recognize the value of the little gem. So, we keep writing.

I kept journals for years, which only I read. I wrote life lessons to my children and when did children ever really want to listen to their parents? I wrote several poetry books, two Bible study books, and family stories. I interviewed and wrote for an e-magazine for two years. I wrote under a pen name for the Artsline in a question-and-answer format for two years for the SUN. All these endeavors seemed to be just stabs in the dark but the desire for writing continued to push me along.

I wasn’t sure what genre I should be writing, such as prose, short stories, long stories, poetry, devotions or lessons. The genre came as the words came. Also, we are not able to determine how others will hear us. They have to be in a place where our words connect with them and then they hear.

How do we find our voice? I believe it finds us. For Byron in his tormented, unresolved life, he had a way with words and it just came naturally. For me, it’s been a lifetime of struggle, going deep inside to find my real voice. I have found it’s the one that hides beneath the social veneer. It takes time and we must just keep writing so we will be ready for the right time for that listening ear.

My beginning years didn’t lend to finding my voice. Fear and embarrassment could have easily kept me silent. I could have missed this little jewel, the Artist’s Lane Column. Again thank you for reading me.

Byron’s friend was right. When you find your voice, you find a treasure.

Final brushstroke: Keep writing, be willing to be surprised. Don’t be so intent on life that you miss life. It might prove to be your voice.

Comments from readers

As artists and writers we have been provided this space to voice our thoughts. E-mail bettyslade@centurytel.net

Dear Betty:

I love this Timing article. I can hear each of you talking and see what’s happening. Interesting how real life stories make for good article writing. Keep up the good work. But I’d go find the Hawaiian shirt, myself. Not during the game but later.

LS

Tehachapi, Calif.

Hello Betty:

An Artist living in her mind, going crazy — nice column. Good consistent thought throughout. The only thing that bothered me was the ending: “Here kitty, kitty.” Little too cute for me, but then maybe that’s just me. You have a nice colloquial style that is warm and friendly, makes your reader feel like they know you. Good job.

Dave

Florida

Slade:

So what is the answer? A.W. Tozer says about time and an infinite God,” How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. For Him time does not pass, it remains … God never hurries, there are no deadlines against which he must work. God’s infinitude belongs to us and is made known to us for our everlasting profit.”

 Awesome quote by Tozer!  These words stir my heart ... In this world we think of everything in terms of profit. We say in our minds, “Oh but we must make a profit, if not what a waste of time.”

What time? We have none!!  Time is in His hands. “Oh foolish people who has bewitched us that we have come so far from this understanding, that “Time is in His hands,” and we are to do what we do for His glory and His honor. 

 I do understand the need to earn a profit from that which we find to do as well, so it must mean; I need to seek His wisdom so that I do not go around being active for the sake of being active.

Enjoy your articles here in N.M.

BL

Dear Betty:

I am referring to your article, an artist going crazy in her mind, too much time. Oh, my! How did you do it?  And you still seem to be perfectly sane and still in your right mind!

This article soooo speaks to me today.  What happens to all the “important” stuff when God puts us on our backs (or stomachs) and sets us aside for a while? Evidently, we learn something about our Infinite God that our busyness otherwise tends to obstruct.

Thank you for sharing your insights.  And, thanks, too, to Al for his patient, loving care giving.  Glad you made it through the ordeal so magnificently.

TL

Pagosa

Quote

Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” — George Sheehan, physician and author.