I lost my voice today. I’ve barely been able to say anything above a whisper all day. I went to work because from the neck down, I felt fine, but was frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t communicate with my friends and colleagues.
As I muddle through the day using hand signals and post-it notes to get my points across, I tried to think about how much we depend on our powers of speech. One day of not being able to talk got me so angry. My colleagues made jokes at my expense, whispering back at me, making me repeat myself when we both knew they understood…I felt like I was back in the school yard. I know thay were just having a laugh, but after a while, it started to wind me up. Fortunately, I knew some hand signals that suited the occasion.
I’ve been thinking about how powerful spoken words are. Tone, timing, voice, the words themselves can leave such a lasting impression. Thinking back over my life, it’s not always what people say, but how they say it that stikes a chord. I’ve been playing back the conversations I had in the last 24 hours trying to recall the details. Some of the chats were average, businesslike, casual, sentimental, serious and jovial. Not a bad for communication if you ask me…
If I knew I only had one day to say everything I wanted to say to people, I wonder what those words would be and to whom they’d be addressed?
Try this: Create a scene where the main character is saying the last words they’ll ever say to someone. What are they, who is the recipent, what is the scene and what is the outcome. Try to keep it tight and give a clear picture of what is going on beneath the surface of the words.
Writing Prompt: The Final Word