Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Telling the truth Tuesday - Fear of losing myself

It took me so many years to find my Self, the me that shut down in early childhood, that I worry about losing that self. There are so many ways to lose our center: thinking about what others think of us, overeating, giving in to addictions, zoning out in fron t of the TV...you get the idea. One of the most recent ways that surfaced for me was fear of moving into a character, especially a character who might be kind of, hmm, I won't see evil, but one who doesn't have good intentions.

When I shared this fear with my writing coach, he said, rather than stepping into someone else, just invite them to dialogue. Spend time with them, as you would a new friend. Invite them to talk to you. In that way, you remain you.

I like that idea. I wonder if it's like real life, where some people are willing to open up and tell you their stories, and others don't reveal a thing about themselves. It will be interesting to see who turns up and what they have to say or what they don't say.

Is it easy for you to lose yourself, both in real life, and in your writing? If so, how to you handle that?



Cyndi said...

I lose myself in real life every day. Some days I handle it by becoming extremely anxious and upset (not so helpful). Other days I handle it in various better ways...go for a walk, meditate, step back and remind myself of what's important to me and what reality is vs. where my mind can take me, forcing myself to do things I know I enjoy even when I don't think I have time. It seems to be an ongoing struggle. I like, and I mean love, the idea of a dialogue with your evil character. A dark side maybe not explored but that can turn into a very interesting character if you look at as a conversation and not a role. Very interesting post!

Maribeth said...

In my childhood I wrote to lose me. It was a way to hide my life when I hid the journal. Later, I wrote to find the me inside. And now I dialogue with characters to find them without losing me.
Thank heaven for Bluetooth or I'd have been put away long ago!
Giggles and Guns

Joanne said...

I wouldn't say I lose myself in real life. Actually, I love being at the stage where I'm "owning" my choices and days. As for losing myself in writing, when I'm immersed in a story, it feels more like I lose time. I'm often purely amazed to look up at the clock and see how many hours have passed.

I like that idea of conversing with your character, maybe even conduct an informal interview? And if he doesn't reveal too much, even that makes for a difficult, mysterious character in the story as the reader (and author) try to figure him out.

Ann said...

Real life, I lose myself in my other life. The one of my dreams and stories. Real life I don't know what or which is real anymore.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I always feel like when I lose myself in writing it means I’m in the zone and that’s a good thing for me. I’d like to get lost there more often.

I real life, I think my family helps keep me centered.

Ellie said...

Great post; I find it is easy to lose myself.
There is so much I want to do; I can be scatterbrained, at times. I am doing the Morning Pages and trying to rein in the good ones. They are like horses roaming all over the place. I find the balance of doing what I am suppose and what I want to a real juggling act, lately!

Yes, I get lost in my writing. When I start my blog post, I have an idea of what I am going to say and then type away. I am stunned sometimes, where I went with the subject.

Interesting angle to let this character speak to you; I like it!

Helen Ginger said...

Those times when I get inside a character's head and hear his/her thoughts are times I most enjoy. If a character is not speaking to me, I don't know that character well enough.

Straight From Hel

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I don't know if I've ever lost myself in real life,but there are times I certainly have lost my way. As for getting lost in characters; no. I listen to them and may not always agree with what I'm hearing. But at the end of the day, there's nothing stopping me hitting the delete button. I've written characters I love, characters that make me laugh and characters that make me angry. It's all good - just a tad frustrating at times.

Jen said...

I can relate to both... I lose myself in real life several times a week, especially now that the hubs is working overnights. Some days are good others are bad. I suppose my writing and blogging at that point is what brings me out of that mental state. I also enjoy a nice walk to help me get out of the funk, or listen to a meditation cd to calm me down a bit. I always find myself by the afternoon and ready to start the next day off fresh!!!

Marvin D Wilson said...

Losing your "self" is good. Selfless behavior and action is very Zen. In the moment, the here and eternal now, no self-consiousness, just doing only what you are doing with single focus and mind. I love it when that happens.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I definitely lose myself in my characters. Except the last one - I did NOT want to act like Heather!

arlee bird said...

I just noticed that I hit 300 followers and I looked the the 300th was you! Thank you. I guess you've been following my blog all along, but were not officially a follower.

I used to try to lose myself a lot when I was in high school and college. Since that time I stay pretty aware of me most of the time but lose myself when I need to just get away for a bit. I like having a dialogue with one's characters-- I think I kind of do that already sometimes.

May 3rd A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post

Shannon said...

So far I've been able to keep my distance. This is partially because something one of my Professors said to me.

I was working on my master's degree in I/O Psychology. One day, while talking to this Professor, I confessed that I wasn't sure if I really wanted to be on I/O Psychologist. I mused about going into counseling.

He immediately told me that I could never to do it because I was too sensitive. "You won't be able to check yourself at the door, Shannon. You have to be able to take everything that makes you unique to you and put it in suitcases at the door. If you walk into the counseling room anything other than a blank slate, you will drown in their problems."

While I didn't move forward with counseling, his words stuck with me as a way to manage my writing and characters.

Karen Walker said...

There is some wonderful sharing here today. Thanks, everyone, for opening up about this issue.
Yes, Lee, I have been following you, but I realized today I hadn't clicked on the follow button on a bunch of blogs I follow. Sorry about that.
Shannon, that was a great gift your professor gave you, although it probably didn't feel like it at the time.

Jemi Fraser said...

Lovely advice - invite someone to dialogue - that's a really nice concept :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I like the questions this post raises. It took me a long time to find myself, and I don't know if I'm done completely. It's no mistake that my characters are often lost and have to figure out who they really are.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I tend to get lost in my characters, even the bad guys. You can imagine my surprise when I was in bad guy character and he dropped dead. That's what you call a real moment of disorientation...

Karen Walker said...

Theresa, hi there. I'm not sure if we're every done "finding" ourselves. I know I'm not, and I'm a whole lot older than you, judging from your picture.
Patricia, you just crack me up.