We have concentrated up to now on ways of starting to write in our own voice: through calling up early memories, waking up the senses and developing an ear for the rhythms of speech. But what if you have more than one writing voice? (You have.) What if there are several voices inside you, all waiting to be heard? (There are.) If you think about your own personality, you will recognise that even your conscious self is composed of different facets. With one friend you may be the epitome of patient listening, with another the garrulous fool. With a lover you may be tender, or outrageously jealous, and with a child you may be alternately nurturing, supportive and strict, even punitive. Each one of us is many people. Just think of all the people you are at different times, in different places. Think of all the selves you put on — selves that aren’t really masks because they are a true part of the core being — but that often coexist uneasily, compelling us to recognise the tension and contradictions between the different selves. If we feel whole, then all these aspects of our being seem to be looped together in a loose, flexible unity. The contradictions remain but they only become tension and conflict when we are under pressure to perform more than one role at a time.
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