Fearless Fridays: Angelica Jackson Proves She Can Write Songs, But Not Sing Them

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When I was a kid, I didn’t talk much. Seriously, at times I could go days and only say a handful of words. But I sang–a lot.

I wore out my Grease soundtrack on the record player, singing all the parts and dancing around. My brother took me to see Bugsy Malone in the movie theater (I know, I’m dating myself) and I learned every song by heart.

In school, choir was one of the few group activities that I enjoyed (the other one was spelling bees, where I discovered my excellent memory overrode my shyness). As I grew up, I kept singing, but never really had an outlet for improving my craft–no one else in my immediate family was terribly musical, so I just sang for the fun of it.

But when I started college, I took a musicianship class and fell in love with the structure and symmetry hidden in musical notation. So I was briefly listed as a music major as I took some classes (and in the process, was diagnosed with a visual learning disability that came to light when I struggled to read sheet music) before I moved on to other studies.

I continued to sing, but not much in public–realizing that I was never going to “make it big” took some of that drive away from me. Not the drive to sing, but the desire to sing as a performance. With the exception of long shifts at the bookstore where I worked, when I’d put on a Billie Holiday CD and sing my heart out while stocking the shelves, my husband and pets were the only ones who heard me sing much.

And it was fine with me, but over the years, I started to get uncomfortable about singing in front of other people. Until, that is, my voice went away–after a surgery that left me with a paralyzed vocal cord, I couldn’t speak above a whisper, let alone sing. And it surprised me how much I missed my voice, both speaking and singing. My speaking voice did come back, but my singing voice is unreliable at best, lol.

Sometimes I’m back in full soprano voice, and other times I sound like a lifelong smoker. But in that uncertainty about how my voice would sound, I discovered a benefit: without the ability to have control over my voice, all the pressure to be perfect went away. I could go back to a childlike enjoyment of singing just for the pleasure, and be just as pleasantly surprised as everyone else when it comes out nice, haha.

I find myself singing more often, even if other people can hear me. Even when I can’t hit those high notes, I don’t fear them the same way and just have a good laugh at it.

So if you laughed at my singing, don’t feel bad–you can see in the video that I’m holding back laughter too! I think I’ll stick to my day job of writing.

 

In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here. She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband, and two corpulent cats, in California’s Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too. Her debut novel, CROW’S REST, a darkly funny young adult urban fantasy, is coming from Spencer Hill Press in May 2015.
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