I just went to the sink and refilled my water bottle, then, unthinkingly screwed the lid back on and lifted the bottle to my lips. Duh! It’s hard to drink from a closed bottle, I chided myself. Impossible, really, I thought as I wandered back toward the twin bed here in Cabin 20 at the homeplace of the Founders of Highlights.
Of course, that got me to thinking once again of the voice workshop I just finished teaching. What a great metaphor for a “closed” voice, trying to drink from that bottle with its lid screwed shut. A closed, or inauthentic, voice has been stoppered. There is a wealth of water within, but the writer can’t get to it–can’t drink from it–without doing one essential thing: popping off the lid.
What have you stoppered inside your writer’s bottle? A cruel or uncaring parent? A homeland lost? A bully’s teasing? The way your dad once told you that it was “normal” for parents to prefer one child over another (and your knowledge that you were not the one preferred)?
If you’ve kept the lid on for a long time, it might be stuck shut, but a bit of loosening is usually all it takes. Ask yourself the question above about what is closed inside your bottle. As I did, within a few pen- or keystrokes, you’ll find something “ouchy” that’s well worth writing about.