I’m Hearing Voices

Tumblr Post #10 (October 2016)

And not one of them is my own. But that of Sage…and Jerry… and Columbia… and June… and David. Everybody is talking at once and it is hard for me to hear what each person is saying. It’s hard for me to write down their words and it’s hard for me to quiet one so that I can hear what the other is telling me. Everybody wants to say something. Everyone wants to be heard. And I want to hear all of them.

But just not all at once.

And not while I’m trying to concentrate on job duties or homework or falling asleep. There are places and times for conversation and, quite frankly, sometimes I wish everyone would just shut up until I have time to give them my full attention.

Until I have time to hear them.

I’m currently in the thick of my first dialogue between more than two characters and I’m juggling the need to not forget that a character is present, the need to convey attitudes through words, and the need to know when to not get lost in small talk. I didn’t anticipate it being this difficult to write a conversation between multiple characters. The entire conversation seemed to pan out perfectly in my mind when I originally devised this scene. I’ve spent the last year daydreaming about who would talk first; which character would interrupt the other; where to include pauses and refrains. It all played out like a well-scripted movie in my head.

Yet, here I am—struggling to convert this movie in my mind to dialogue on a word processor.

And I’m torn. Torn between wanting the conversation to sound as natural as possible and not wanting to take up unnecessary space with useless banter. But honestly, a lot of conversation among multiple people is useless banter unless some serious, thought-provoking ideas or plans are afoot. And at this point of the story, I’m just not there yet.

And maybe that’s ok. The main points behind this scene are to reacquaint and to portray dynamics between characters. Nobody’s spitting out philosophical quotes by Aristotle or discussing the racial dynamics of society that prompted Solange to write A Seat at the Table. New characters are simply being introduced and, as is the case with meeting new people, useless banter naturally comes with the territory.

Some people dominate the conversation.

Some people say one thing.

Some people just sit there and listen.

The fact that someone is merely present does not mean that he or she is required to say something. Sometimes, silence speaks louder than anything that leaves the mouth. And that, too, is vital to the conversation.

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