mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Voice

Why do we hate our voices? Isn't that the strong emotion we have the first time we hear ourselves on tape? Maybe we are so used to mirrors and photographs that we are accustomed to how we look but not how we hear...? We look at a photo and decide we had a bad hair day or need to lose a few pounds. We hear our voice and say, "Oh, that doesn't sound like me!" How many people record their phone greeting but won't listen to it? How many people would rather die than make a speech?

And yet... our most horrifying nightmare is trying to scream but no sound comes out. Or only a strangled squeek.

I want to write a radio piece about "voice" and I'm fishing around for the right approach.

Part of it is about my own little journey.

The other part is about my annoyance with "voice" radio. The prevailing culture is journalistic. Your own voice is the cool, objective container for Other People's Voices. To hell with that, I'm saying. When are the storytellers going to seize the means of production? I am the voice I want to hear. It sounds grandiose. And (unless I'm Garrison Keillor*) a bit lonesome. But when I'm old, will I miss the people I never interviewed? Or will I miss the me I've never bothered to hear from?

3.26.2008

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* Garrison Keillor: host of "Prairie Home Companion" and monologue artist extraordinaire.