I have always been alone a lot. We moved quite a bit when I was a kid and though I made friends easily, I also had my fair share of alone time. My mother worked long shifts on many days and it wasn’t rare that she had to take me along to work. I would sit in a corner or under a table entertaining myself. You could mostly find me with a book or even better, with some colouring pencils and a walkman, listening to my friends experiencing yet another adventure or some honey-smooth bass voice telling me fairytales of old. The world would disappear and I would be in theirs: Running with Bibbi Bloxberg the little witch to escape the mean, grown-up witches, or dreading that Rupelstilzchen would get the Miller’s daughter’s child. I would discover the world and learn about history.
I guess that’s how I became so focused on voices. Music is only magical to me when there is a human voice to finish off the symphony. Nothing calms me as much as my boyfriend telling me: ‘All will be well’. There was nothing more romantic than the time I received a CD with stories read out loud just for me to listen to over and over. Even now, when I can’t sleep, when I worry, when my heart breaks, when I have to do chores or sports, when I feel alone and not even the cats can cheer me up, I find an audiobook, audio play or spoken poem. A song with lyrics that make my heart respond, a doorway to visiting my friends in that other world.
Now I am listening to biographies, fantasy novels, sci-fi, anything really that I can get my hands on. I am devouring hours and hours of material that I would never have read. So many subjects and imaginary landscapes, spilling from authors’ minds, that I would never have visited. I am surprised how often I like the material, even though the book cover or synopsis on the back would have made me yawn and I would not have given the writer that chance to rapture me.
Days like today, when the sky is grey and I just finished a 10-hour audiobook on day 4, I realise how blessed I am with my imaginary friends and their voices in my head, and I wonder at how available modern technologies make all this. It is good to know, I realise, that as long as people write and record, I will never be truly alone.