Finding Your Voice
In the last episode of my podcast, my interview with Anna Tozzi-Barbay, she mentioned that her son had decided he wanted to be a filmmaker like she is. I found that fascinating, and I said that I have always wondered what it would be like to see the world from the POV of an autistic person. As the father of autistic children, I can see what it’s like to BE an autistic person, but when you stop to realize that they see and perceive the world very differently than we do…and that’s where I stopped.
The fact is, we all see and perceive the world differently, don’t we? It doesn’t matter if we have special needs or not, we all have in us different ingredients, and it’s these ingredients that inform the way each of us sees the world. So, when we see someone make a film, or hear a podcast or a song, or see a photograph, we are seeing an example of how that artist perceives the world around them. This is a person’s creative voice, and I use that term to differentiate it from a creative style. Style is just the sparkly wrapper on top of the package, like a choice to shoot in Black and White, or my occasional choice to leave out every color but the blue I’m wearing or my wife’s red hair. I think voice is the overall idea an artist tries to convey.
I say all of this to ask a question of all of you: Have you given thought to what your voice is saying? My friend Nicole, who you can hear back in episode 354 explores identity, power, and interconnectedness. Amy Mahon from episode 351 also celebrates identity, but she also focuses her lens on things like the connection between trauma and creativity. These things inform their work. What’s informing yours?
So I decided to turn that focus inward and ask myself what informs my work, and honestly, that’s a hard nut to crack. Self-awareness isn’t easy, as I’m sure you probably know. But if you look at my overall work and the things I gravitate to, I think you can see a pattern emerge. Maybe. You’ll be a better judge as to whether I’m right than I am because it’s hard to separate myself from myself because I’m in here with, y’know…all of this.
I think my overall work speaks to trying to make sense of the world around me. I look for patterns in nature. Organization. Design. Geometry. The photography that I like isn’t vivid, it’s black and white and very sharp in focus even all the way in the far distance.
The music I like is almost theatrical, but if you look at people like Roger Waters, Neil Peart, even Matt Bellamy…their songwriting is trying to show us a little something about the world and asks us what we think about it. They challenge us to do something about it.
I don’t read a lot of fiction, because that isn’t this world. I read a lot of things that try to help me navigate this place. Buddhism, Stoicism, I’ve read a gang of self-help books. I listen to a lot of podcasts dedicated to philosophy, politics, debates, and tutorials. I drown myself in how-to videos in my various pursuits.
I try to make sense out of the state of near chaos that I think surrounds me, and I think I try to take the things I’ve learned and try to pass it along because I know there’s another younger version of me out there that needs to know what I know. Even when I was doing the comedy podcast with a bazillion different voices, it had occurred to me that each voice (at least the main characters) were all one dimension of my personality, and the conflict between them was a way to make sense of it all.
How do you see the world? Tell us.