Monday, 21 March 2011

Voices - Inspiration Monday guest post

I’m happy to announce the third Inspiration Monday. As you probably already know I was inspired by so many women since I started blogging and I wanted to share their thoughts about inspiration with all of you. I hope you enjoy this series of posts as much as I do and I hope that you’re inspired by my guests.

Today’s guest is Froggy who writes a lovely blog Happy Frog and I. She’s an amazing and diverse writer and I enjoy reading her fictional pieces as much as Children’s TV posts and everything in between. I warmly suggest that you check out her blog in case you're not following her yet.

Froggy is a kind and positive person who can inspire you in so many different ways. I’m honoured to be hosting her on my blog and I know… I really should stop babbling… Here we go; I give you Froggy:

Sometimes, in my dreams, I can hear my dad's voice.  I recognise just the right elements of tone, warmth and accent, whether he sounds cross or happy, calm or agitated.  Whatever the mixture of different elements my slumbering mind produces, I can always tell it is him. 

The minute I wake up, the detail of his voice starts to fade. I spend a few moments dredging the corners of my mind, trying to ensure that I have captured enough in my long term memory to remember.  I know that by the time I have left my bed to start another day, the memory has disappeared completely.  This never stops me trying to capture his voice.  The lessons are never learned.

The darker memories of my life rarely do as they are told.  Instead of softening with time to a point where all that remains is unquestioned acceptance, they rebel.  They push their way to the forefront of my consciousness, eschewing peace of mind in their desperation to be heard.  Sometimes they provide inspiration, on other occasions they crush it. 

There are no precious video or audio recordings I can turn to in order to hear my dad.  Only his image remains intact and available whenever I need reassurance.  In less then five years my face will be older than the one that looks back at me from photographs taken just before his death. It is a milestone that often troubles me.  Photographs can be helpful but they never catch the spirit of a person as much as their voice.  Being without my dad’s voice is something I should be used to after all these years, but I am not. 

My first experience of trying to hear and capture a voice that was devoid of physical form but nestled deep within my head occurred when my dad was still alive and I was six years old. Under the instruction and supervision of whichever nun was teaching us, we would wait; we would sit in class quietly with our eyes shut tight and our hands clasped together.  These sessions provided rare occasions in my early life where my mind was temporarily empty of imaginings and conversations. It had been explained to us the first time it happened what the aim of the experiment was.  We were supposed to hear the sound of God talking to us. 

I would always sit with my elbows digging into the hard wood desk I was seated at hoping I would not hear anything, but slightly disappointed when this came to pass.  A small part of me wanted to be chosen, to be special.  A larger part did not want to hear the imagined booming voice of a deity in my head. If he chose to talk to me it could be taken as full confirmation that he existed.  It would mean he saw everything I did.  I was by no means a very naughty child but neither was I completely good.  I was fiercely private about my alone time.  The idea of such an intrusion made me fearful and uneasy.  The idea of not being special and included made my stomach feel like it was going to flip over.   

Every so often the experiment would be repeated.  Once I heard hailstones bouncing loudly and rapidly onto the hard grey tarmac outside the classroom. On several occasions when we tried it around half ten in the morning I could hear the tinkle of tiny milk bottles gently touching and repelling each other as they were carried to position by the monitor.  Every time I heard the large black and white clock over the long blackboard covered in chalk residue. Its incessant tick-tocking sounding louder than I could have ever imagined possible when my eyes were open and human voices were intermittently allowed.  From time to time we would be reminded by our teacher to clear all thoughts from our minds and leave the way clear for God to approach us. This was a request I would valiantly try to put into practice. 

Some of my classmates said they did hear him and perhaps that is true.  God’s voice was always described as male, never female, something I did not question at the time.  As for me, I did not hear the sound of God’s voice, not then and not now. There is only one voice I yearn to hear in my waking hours as each year passes.

Occasionally I will be sitting quietly thinking of nothing in particular and suddenly I will be hit by a strong urge to pick up a pen in a half daze and start writing.  I get a tingling feeling deep inside my brain that urges me to write.  I am suddenly immersed in the echoes of the past, reminded of the swiftness of the present and conscious of unknowable stories to come.  Sometimes when I look back at a story or blog post I will find myself perplexed with no idea how most of the words formed themselves into their final patterns. 

I am not saying that I think my dad invades my alone time and speaks to me.  Nor that I imagine these odd flashes of inspiration come from him however unlikely that may be.  It just makes me wonder if I have inherited his style and method of writing.  It makes me curious how much of me is influenced by my genes, my upbringing and my adult life.  Have I become an extension of my dad’s voice?

A discussion on what inspired his writing and particular style and approach is one of the many conversations I wish I could have with him. In preference to posing questions I cannot answer.  Instead of waiting for a voice that will never be heard.


  1. I thought there would be a long list of comments here, and unless they are waiting to be 'approved' then I am honoured to be the first to congratulate you on an amazing post. I'm not talking about the way it was written, moreover, what it said. As someone who has had a parent die, albeit more recently, it all resonated so clearly. I don't mind the lump in the throat or tear in eye when something reminds me of him, as it shows he is a long way from being forgotten. Not wanting to hijack yet another of your posts with my rambling reply, I shall merely restate my congratulations and shall be gone.

  2. What a great post and so beautifully written, congratulations, it certainly leaves me with a lump in my throat. Diane x

  3. Thank you so much for asking me to write a guest post and having me over here. I really appreciate the comments so far, I found the post quite moving to write.

  4. How wonderful for Happy Frog and I to have appeared and written on your blog ..:A very poignant post ... and brings home alot to me . I lost my dad when I was 10 .. that was a long long time ago .. I am now 15 years old than when he passed .. I can see his face still , but never his voice.. cannot remember it at all, which is such a shame .. He is never forgotten though :-) xx

  5. oops that should of been 15 years older .. (not old)

  6. Beautifully expressed, Froggy. I do understand this very well. I still hear my Momma's voice in my head even tho she has been gone for 48 years and I would give a fortune to hear it again in reality.

  7. Loved your post Froggy, beautifully written. I lost my Dad a few years ago so this post did hit home. The week my Dad died a cala-lily that I did not plant sprouted up in my yard and flowered, its been doing it the last few years. The anniversary of his death is in two weeks and I looked outside today and saw the flower bud not quite ready to open yet. I like to think it's his voice talking to me telling me he's okay and that he's around...

  8. Froggy, you made me see it, you made me feel it. And you made me cry. In a good way. It is a beautiful piece of writing.

  9. This is the side of you I have not seen. At least I have not seen you write this way on your own blog. I'm impressed!

    We can all relate to the pain of losing a loved one, even though the after-effect is different on different people. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

    And thank you Starlight for bringing on Froggy!

  10. It would mean he saw everything I did.

    We did this exercise at Primary School. I hated the idea of God watching me whilst I was on the toilet.

  11. Wonderful post Froggy...soulful and honest, very moving.
    You have lovely writing and I'm so glad to be seeing more of it exposed.

    Very impressive!

  12. Me again. Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to comment. I appreciate you letting me know if it has moved you and/or if you can relate.

    @Patti D. - If you come back and read this would you mind expanding on why you found the post scary? I am very intrigued as I did not see it that way.

    I think as well as trying to focus on inspiration and what inspires me I was also thinking about science and religion, genes versus cultural upbringing. I'm not sure if that came though but I thought I would mention it here in case it is of interest to anyone.

  13. Beatiful post by Happy Frog and I. Made me think of my dad, who taught English, and we always had very lively discussions. I miss his voice, too.

  14. This really moved me. I thought it was fantastic. Very personal, and very eloquent, and I loved reading the philosophical undertones. One of my favourite pieces of yours, Happy Frog, and thank you Stalight for hosting it!

  15. great post frog and extremely moving.


    Brits in the USA

  16. I love the difference voices you described and how you build it up towards the end. I think your voice is making your dad very proud though it is definitely your own.

  17. I absolutely love this post. And ... in my own way, I think God was talking to you in the hail and in the tinkling of milk bottles.

    Would you ... and I promise not to do this again because I know it's totally not your thing, but would you read 1 Kings 19:9-13? Preferably in an easy version that is not King James. I'm not trying to convince you of anything but that was the first thing I thought of. Big hugs! :-)

  18. Totally fab post - probably the best thing you've ever written. Thoughtful without being clichéd and subtle without being vague. I love the elbows on the table, the tinkling bottles and the chalky clock (visual imagery is my thing).

    Nice work.

  19. Thanks so much everyone who has read this post and commented. I am pretty blown away by the response. Thank you to my gracious hostess as well for allowing me to guest post here. x

  20. Thank you Starlight for inviting Happy Frog and I to guest on your blog. I agree with Baglady, I think this is the best you have written. I loved the musings on photographs, classroom memories, religion and when you speak of your father's voice its made me think that I cannot hear my Dad's voice and his anniversary will be 3 years next month. But I can see his smile, see his blue eyes and feel his love and kindness. Maybe some of us see rather than hear?