…and they are all calling for cake in little squeaky panda cub voices.
Oh! um..hi….I didn’t see you there. I was reading a special guest post from C. Hope Clark, a writer that I admire more than I can say. She recently offered to write a post for me and as usual, she nailed it right on the head. If I hadn’t given in to the panda voices in my head seven years ago, we wouldn’t be here now. It’s much better that I listened to those voices, rather than the ones that told me what I wanted to do with my life was too hard to succeed at, and besides, you’re just not exceptional enough.
BTW, the next installment of Inspector Panda’s Case of the Picturesque Panda follows this guest post.
That Inner Voice
By C. Hope Clark
Justine Musk earned celebrity status publishing three books, marrying and divorcing billionaire Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, and creating a remarkable blog. She believes in “the artist in you, the rebel, the visionary . . . The wounded hero . . . (and) the beautiful freak.”
She references the inner, safe voice that tends to take over the true voice of an artist. For instance, you dream about story. The scenes play in your head. You yearn for luscious hours to engross yourself in the tale. Then that other voice nudges you, reminding you about bills to pay, obligations to others, and limited time for such a pie-in-the-sky project. The odds are against you anyway, it whispers.
Be What You Wish . . . Not
As youngsters, we are told we can be anything we wish. However, something happens when we approach adulthood, and our dreams of being astronauts, presidents, magicians or authors still cling to us. Authority figures step in and warn us to be reasonable, that we aren’t children anymore. We’re told to pick a sensible occupation. That’s when we adopt our safe voice. That’s when many of our dreams die.
As a science and math enthusiast in high school, I also became editor of the yearbook. I declined a journalism scholarship, opting for a science major, because writing wasn’t as grounded as a career in science. While my education led me to a good career, catapulting me into experiences that I write about, what if I’d followed my child-like love for words and ignored voices telling me to take the safer path?
Voices of Authority Mean Well, But . . .
Writers are mostly introverted and more prone to listen at an early age to those voices of authority. We’re less confrontational, and while we’re still under the power of parents, teachers, ministers and mentors, we tend to do what we’re told. While those authorities mean well, they often squash our inner creative spirit as we age. Creativity turns into what they think are frivolous desires to tell stories, paint pictures, or dance. Since we yearn for validation, we move on to those less frowned upon paths. We forget to please ourselves first.
We push our deep longings away in the name of manners and doing the right thing, then later we learn to do the same when we become mother, spouse, employee, boss, catholic, protestant, republican, democrat, or other title.
Fairy Dust and Pirate Ships Disappear
In the middle of that growing-up we lose touch with fairies, pirates, mysteries, Prince Charming romance, sci-fi adventure and secret agents. If we’re lucky, however, somewhere along the way we remember how to pretend, and we return to storytelling. Those are the great novelists.
Sharon Sala has written over eighty books. She states, “…people who write fiction are simply people who did not lose their childhood ability to pretend.” If we refuse to forget what it was like being a child, we can draw upon those memories for imagery. An adult who can feel joy, anguish, love and enthusiasm with the raw abandon of a child has a gift.
That Child Still Lives
As writer, you have the luxury of thinking deep. That also gives you the ability to recall sweet watermelon at your grandmother’s picnic table in August, a hot cinnamon jawbreaker on your tongue, the squishy mud under your feet at the lake, the smell of crayons on the first day of school. Your child’s voice can still be heard . . . if you sit still and listen hard enough.
C. Hope Clark draws on growing up in the South when painting the characters in her Carolina Slade Mystery Series, and that can mean some crazy antics and sayings. You’ll find her books available anywhere books are sold. www.chopeclark.com Hope is also editor of FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest Magazine for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. www.fundsforwriters.com
And while we are in mystery mode…
Celebrating the publication of Pandamorphosis, a wordless picture book…with pandas…lots of pandas!
Thanks again to C. Hope Clark for visiting the pandas with some astute thoughts for anyone that might have misplaced their childhood dreams.
Be the Bear,
Bob T. Panda