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Monday, November 14, 2011

holoblomo day 14: quiet

note: “holoblomo” stands for Horribly Local Blogging Month, my response to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that happens every November. The NaNoWriMo challenge asks writers to compose 50,000 words in a month; I chose 10,000 as my goal. Enjoy.

So here we are.
It was a quiet weekend. Literally. I spent most of it on complete vocal rest.
See, this cold I’ve been dealing with for the last two weeks has been a little wicked. It’s the sort of chest cold I haven’t had in many years. The kind of cold I had the first time I lost my voice onstage. It is evil and green.

And I don’t look sick, either. No red nose, no post-nasal drip... just the occasional cough. Then another. Then a fit that can last up to 20 minutes. I am releasing things from my lungs that should not exist in nature. 
Coughing is the worst thing you can do to a voice, and as such, my vocal cords are in distress. It’s one of the few times I’ve been grateful for this little span of unemployment... it means I haven’t had to concern myself much with my singing voice and I could just let the cold run its course, something I’m not often able to do. 
But I have an audition for a musical slated for today. So on Friday night, I found myself shot back in time to those desperate days of the Broad Way, filled with panic and gargling, flowing with honey and lemon.   
It was the only thing I hated about my halcyon days. Putting one’s self on vocal rest whilst in a show or having a singing engagement looming is a nerve-wracking endeavor.  It always goes the same way, every time:
You sit and fidget. You drink tea. You gargle salt water. You drink more tea. You are tired of peeing. You write notes to your loved one: hi... do you want a sandwich... I am just going to skip a step and pour the tea down the toilet. You have the patience of an impudent toddler. Part of you wants to trill, just a teeny bit, just to test your voice, and part of you knows that will only make it worse. You Google everything related to laryngitis and home remedies, hoping to hear of some newfound ancient miracle twigs-and-berries cure that will let you sing again, only to read the same thing, over and over: vocal rest and time... vocal rest and time... a few days, a few weeks... 
And you freak out. Weeks? I don’t have weeks! I don’t even have days! What am I going to do? 
It sucks. Not the losing-one’s-voice part, though that does suck, but rather, the exhausting mental stress of agonizing about it. Then again, there are lots of things that suck much, much more, and you have to remember that, too.
This time around was a little different. My husband was out of town, making vocal rest easier yet lonelier. And I got some ginger root tea, a new experience for me, having read about it online. After two cups, I read that the strong nature of ginger root tea might be irritating to the vocal cords, so I stopped that. Internet, why can’t you get your stories straight?
The few times I ventured out of the apartment, to run some errands and do laundry in the basement, were interesting. In the past, I have been apt to let a word or two slip out, just to be polite. This weekend, I smiled, but remained silent, mouthing things like hi and thank you. The people I encountered looked at me funny. I think the guy who sold me my ginger root tea, lozenges, and homeopathic throat formula (a.k.a. snake oil) put two and two together, but I suspect that the checkout girl at the supermarket almost tried to ask if I habla-ed español and then thought the better of it.
Anyway, late last night, after 48 hours of silence, I let out a little trill. Then I warmed up and tried to sing.
Well... I’m not at 100% yet, but I can’t imagine how much worse it could have been if I hadn’t spent the weekend drowning in tea and silence.  
And that’s 5893 words.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me. 

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