Dani Shapiro said that voice is courage.
Julia Cameron said voice has to do with finding safety.
Marilyn Bousquin said that voice is the the spiritual essence of oneself.
Brian Kelms said voice is like your book’s fingerprint.
Mark Nepo said you cannot create voice, only make space for it by being authentic and tending to it when it comes through.
I wrote in Write On, Sisters! that voice is giving yourself permission. 

Brooke’s Facebook post (March 21 2020)
The summer I turned 13 I was a junior lifeguard. Here in Southern California we get big waves, so the first thing they teach you is how to dive deep, grip the sand with both hands, and let the waves wash over you. Early on I was terrified by their force, afraid that if I lost my grip I’d get tumbled hard, maybe even drown. But I never did lose my grip, once intentionally made. This is the image of all of us that came to me yesterday as I watched the sunset with my mom on her balcony here in So. Cal. We’ve been asked to dive deep and grip hard and let this wave wash over. May we weather it well and with intention.

(c) Shutterstock


John O’Donohue
The poet wants to drink from the well of origin but the poet must reach deeper inward; go deeper than the private hoard of voices down to the root-voice.

Mark Nepo (Drinking from the River of Light)
I thought, at first, that real lasting work—whether building a barn or writing a poem—was a matter of honesty. And it is, and so there is no choice but to find the skill to do it cleanly. But I have learned that essential work is not even feasible unless one is immersed—unless in the midst of discovery one is patient, exhaustive, and determined… For in a world where we are pressed to be quick, timely, catchy, where acceptance and celebrity loom as the soft addictions of our culture, it requires courage and perseverance to stay authentic and to pursue your depth, your spirit, your truth—for months and years and possibly for the rest of your life.

Even when silent in the deep, we are writing poems and birthing art and loving. And more importantly, the poem is writing itself before breaking surface through us.


“What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened.” 
—Vivian Gornick


Start Close In, by David Whyte

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

To find
another’s voice,
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
listening
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Close