Posts from Memory Lane: Voices in My Head

Thursday, March 28, 2013

These posts were written during the summer while I was in Bangladesh, in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Long story short: when I looked back at the archive, I didn't have the desire  or the time to put them up. But now, since I'm coming back to the blog, I decided that some of them aren't half bad. Read on!

After reading a good book (or even a not-so-good one) for a period of time, I take on the tone and attitude of the narrator for a few hours afterward. Does anyone else have this happen to them? I think of it as being overcome by that person's presence and finding myself thinking thoughts and speaking and moving in the manner that I imagine they would.

It's nothing short of bizarre.

I like to think that it just marks me as particularly receptive to influence - which can be good or bad, depending on how much control you like over your daily life. It bleeds over into my writing too, so depending on the day, I'll either shut myself off from all forms of the written word in order to let my own voice flourish or I'll gather together all the amazing inspiring work that I've read over the years and let it unleash itself in my brain. Either way, there's something to be said about process.

Sometimes it also makes me very perturbed. I have a very clear memory of being on a break during my driver's ed class back when I was 15 and a half. I was reading Pretty Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk and I started to feel the intense desire to vomit and that the world itself was meaningless. And not just because the class was extremely boring. Although I devoured Palahniuk's books, I had to bar myself from reading them because they would make me feel a highly intellectualized depression for two or three weeks on end.

It's usually not that bad, of course. Having the long, loping metaphors of Isabel Allende or Gabriel Garcia Marquez in mind sway my feelings in a completely different direction. I like to think I become funnier after reading Augusten Burroughs or David Sedaris. And I sure as heck get fired up pretty often with the activist material I read.

It's always interesting, however, to note that all these voices don't ever feel completely like me. I notice them, crawl into their shells, but I don't ever feel like they are a substitute for some core person I consider as myself.

I don't know what that says about identity, but it sure gets loud in here.