my voice

7 04 2011

I’m in the process of writing a piece that is jiggering with my stomach. It’s a good story and it has wonderful scope for nuance and interesting dialogue – I’m well into it and I have a great overall feeling about its potential.

However, my stomach is reacting to it.

I sit to write and my previously mellow little belly, which is not hungry, thirsty or in pain, begins to dance. It hops and pokes and aches and burns and wiggles and jiggles until I have to stop.  I love my tum-tum and I want to treat it well, but I’m forced to ignore it – studiously – so I can get on with the business at hand.

I think the story might be a little disturbing to my tummy. It is personal – not to me, exactly, but to my dad. And if I would write it accurately and un-writerly, all would be well. However, I have taken a sweet little snippet from my late daddy’s childhood story cache and turned it into a menacing dramatic piece with danger, fear and a healthy dose of pathos.

Do I have the right? It was a lovely story about a boy’s experience growing up in the outback of Australia … I’ve loved this story for my whole life. Now, I am telling it in my way. With my voice. The little boy is no longer my darling father, but a character who behaves independently of my memories and has experiences that I’ve never heard about – until I write them.

I believe I do have the right. I think my dad would be amused and proud that I had launched him into a sea of drama and a little intrigue. I like to think so, at least. My daddy was a strong, intelligent and witty man who loved literature and a good story – yes – he’d be fine with it.

Tummy, do your thing and I’ll write to your rhythm.