Two articles in the Guardian this week about voices and creativity, and the recent death of Robin Williams, made me think of the worlds inside my head. (If you want, you can read the articles yourself, here and here.)
The first article discussed the voices Virginia Woolf heard and how it made her feel:
"I feel I have gone too far this time to come back again. It is just as it was the first time, I am always hearing voices, and I know I shant get over it now … I have fought against it, but I can't any longer, Virginia."
That was something she wrote to her sister just before she killed herself. She would write a novel to quell the voices and as soon as she was finished, a new set a voices came. She couldn't deal with it anymore.
The woman was a literary genius but the voices made her insane.
The second article talked about the characters and voices heard by the great Charles Dickens. For him, the characters were so real, it was as if he was just overhearing what the characters were saying and writing it down.
Dickens wrote to his friend John Forster: "when I sit down to my book, some beneficent power shows it all to me, and tempts me to be interested, and I don't invent it – really do not – but see it, and write it down".
Dickens took those voices, accepted them and created like mad. His novels are proof that the characters inside the writer's head are sometimes so real we just stand back, watch and record.
Not every writer deals with the characters or voices in the same way. Perhaps some writers don't hear the characters speak to them at all. But, it should make us think.
How do the voices come to you? Do they sometimes make you insane or foster your creativity?
Photo credit: pvillarrubia / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
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