Voiceless

Topics: Uncategorizedvoice

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“Hello,” I croaked. I knew that the person on the other line could barely hear me, and I wondered why I’d bothered to answer the phone at all. Too late now.

“Uh…is Philip Myton there?” said the receptionist from the clinic my husband uses.

“No, he’s not.” I breathed more than spoke those words.

I then explained that I had laryngitis in as few words as possible. The lady seemed relieved to know, and I tried to imagine what she had thought when she first heard me. From her reaction, I thought I must have sounded like a phone call from a dead relative I remember in the spooky stories my friends told at sleep overs.

Laryngitis came on this week in the middle of my morning class on Tuesday. I croaked when I could make a noise at all. The phone call came at a time when I had rested my voice for many hours so the receptionist could hear me.

Watching people react to me reminded me of staying in Germany for a time. I looked like the Germans all around me so no one treated me differently until I opened my mouth and they heard my accented German. One man on the street asked me directions and his face changed completely when I told him I was new to town.

But at least in Germany they knew I was only foreign. When I used my froggy voice this week,  everyone stepped back a few paces, not wanting to catch whatever it was I had. I don’t really blame them, but it felt strange.

Trying not to talk while communicating with my family also proved a major challenge even though they were used to my call from the dead sound.

When I was younger, I thought about what it would be like to lose my hearing or my sight and asked myself which would be worse. But I never considered how vital my voice is.

As I thought about my froggy voice this week, I remembered my writing. When the words work, it feels like a have a voice. Like what I am trying to say moves across the page and into the minds of my readers. When those words don’t work, I am croaking and people look at me (in my mind’s eye) like I have laryngitis.

I got over the physical laryngitis this week. I’m hoping to kick my writing voice laryngitis to the curb, too.

About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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