I’ve never been brave enough to do karaoke.
I was traumatized by a solo in a school musical, something about the American founding fathers. I was cast as Abigail Adams (a smart founding mother).
But still today, I wonder why? Why would they–the school teachers or founding parents–make me sing?
Luckily, no one seemed to notice my lack of talent on show night. Most likely because when it was my turn, I lip synced to silence and no one could do anything about it since we had a “one night only” performance.
Undoubtedly, the audience probably lacked regret. A few years before, I had another solo in a Christmas play where I portrayed a magician, with a large black, paper top-hat, who was supposed to “gently toss” candy canes during my song.
Per my mom, there were audience members hiding behind folding chairs to avoid my sugar ammo. I do slightly recall the thudding sound of wrapper against flesh.
In contrast, I’ve always enjoyed singing out loud in private. No visible audience makes me a happy performer.
Just like writing. The invisible audience lightens the immediate pressure, allowing me to emerge from my tight shell of shyness.
However, the understanding that my voice still defines my performance pumps in the adrenaline and reminds me that I must deliver to my audience. No faking it. No making them run and hide. Hopefully.
Deep in solitary contentment, my writing voice can become anything or anyone, to be experienced without knowing me, seeing me, or literally hearing me. I dissolve myself into my voice, hoping for reincarnation of my knowledge, thoughts, perspectives, style, and ideas into the minds of my readers. Ultimately morphed into their own understanding.
Or at least I try. Keep trying. That’s the joy of writing for me–freedom for my voice. Silent triumph.
(And perhaps, one day, karaoke.)