Don’t Write Alone | Columns

Reading My Audiobook Was an Act of Letting Go

You cannot grow, or heal, or whatever it is we’re trying to achieve when we write though trauma, by distancing yourself from your own pain.

This is The Sound of My Voice, a series on the craft, process, and stakes of recording audiobooks.

My summation of the first day had been, “Jesus, this is bleak.” On the second day, by the time I read the final line in the final chapter, I thought, “Jesus, this is me.” Writing has a way of revealing things to you in stages, I find. When I finished writing the book, I mostly felt relief. Now, having completed an entire reading of it, what I felt was exposed. I had hoped that by writing candidly about my pain, I could heal it. And I thought healing would mean feeling no connection to the words I read out loud. I thought healing would mean being able to say, “And she lived happily ever after, and she let go of the sadness, and she truly became carefree.” I wanted, so badly, to not be the person I was when I wrote the book.

I recently got a chance to hear a snippet of the audiobook. I think I sound weird, anxious, and kind of miserable. But I also think I sound like myself. I’m not sure what else to call that but acceptance.