Early yesterday morning I discovered my voice had checked out. Speaking was no longer possible.
Concerned, I opened my mouth and the attempt to say what was in my head, “Hey, what’s going on here?” was futile. I laid there silent. My heart was making up for the lack of sound with hard pounding in my ears. Shaking my entire body, it felt like it might jump right out of my chest.
Thinking maybe I was parched and my vocal cords needed a splash of lubrication, I got up from bed and went to the kitchen for a drink of water. After the drink, I formed a small question in my mind and then engaged in what I hoped to be my first words of the morning, “Have I lost my voice?”
Silence. Still nothing. My ability to speak was gone.
Concern ratcheted up to full-blown panic as multiple, unanswered questions raced through my mind. Since I rely on the use of my voice to make a living, the biggest question was, “What am I going to do, now?”
With a refill of water, I moved over to the kitchen table, grabbed a chair and sat. My head in my hands and fingers running through my hair, I made a mental list of tasks to take care of when the rest of the world is up and moving. Call the doctor being the first.
I downed the second glass of water and tried to speak again. “What am I going to do!?” I heard the words in my head but my outside voice was gone. Checked out.
If my primary tool to earn a living went AWOL, what other skill or talent could I rely on to put food on the table? I came up with a number of freelance possibilities including audiobook editor, photographer, blogger, personal cook, weed puller, dog walker and mime.
They all seemed somewhat pale in comparison to being a voice actor. I’ve learned to express emotions through my voice. Now the best I could do is facially emote and gesticulate, two things I do well in the booth. But, take those talents outside the booth, I know I’d be tossed into the house of crazy.
What seemed like hours had only been moments at most. My head was still full of questions like, “What have I done?”
The kitchen blurred and then dissolved as I found myself in bed, looking at the dresser on the other side of the room. My heart was still loud in my ears and continued to shake my body. After a moment, the fog cleared and I uttered in a whisper, “It was only a dream.”
Could you reach deep inside and find something worth your attention and passion if you lost your voice, or the primary tool for making your living? What would you do?
© 2014 J. Christopher Dunn
Image by patricia m