Voices – Westhampton Beach High School (2010)
By Alana Mercurio
Westhampton Beach High School
Renee: (writing, but speaking what she writes) I know I’m no one special. I don’t excel at sports, or draw really well. I’m never going to invent the cure to cancer; I’m not going to find a better substitution for the Pi symbol… or anything like that. I’m a writer. I want to touch the world through what I say, not what I can do.
Inner Voice (off stage): A writer? You’re not good enough.
Renee: (pauses, from the words spoken off stage. Looks around) Since I could form my own words, I’ve had others’ shoved down my throat; blocking off the ones I want to make heard.
Inner Voice: (mocking) Your words aren’t important.
Renee: (rushes on to almost ignore the words) I’m never going to live up to your standards; I know that. Like I said, I’m never going to do anything that matters. Like you have. I’m not an intellectual. But I’m writing this now to say you don’t define me.
Inner Voice: Writing. Ha.
Renee: I’m sick of being pushed into your cookie cutter mold. I want my voice to be mine– no one else’s.
Inner voice: Your voice doesn’t matter.
(Renee winces and is quiet. Inner Voice starts speaking again in result of her silence.)
Inner Voice: Do you seriously think that you’re go to become someone if you go after this… petty dream?
Renee: (stops writing—starts just talking) Become someone? I know who I am. I don’t need to become anyone.
Inner Voice: So you’re going to downright ignore everything mom and dad are telling you? It’s like you’re throwing everything they gave you back in their face. They feed you, clothe you; give you everything. They’re the ones that know what’s best for you.
Renee: No see, you’re wrong. They want what they think is best for them. They think because our whole family is full of these… logic inclined people, I should be one of them too.
Inner Voice: Quit making waves, kid. You have great grades in Chemistry; you’ve always been bright in math. Why pass all that up to be some starving artist who will probably never sell a book?
Renee: I’m not like mom and dad. Just because they’re my parent’s doesn’t mean I have to be like them! Writing is what I love.
Inner Voice: What you love won’t make you a living. You think the people working in restaurants and grocery stores expected to end up there? No. They’re there because “what they love” doesn’t bring in the money. And they weren’t smart enough to get a real degree.
Renee: (silence for about 5 seconds… looks around, deep breath) Get out. Of my head.
Inner Voice: All right. (Walks on stage) I’m out of your head. (Smiles smugly)
Renee: What do you want from me?
Inner Voice: I don’t want anything from you. I am you. We’re in this together. And I’m not going anywhere.
Renee: (stares straight ahead)
Inner Voice: (Bends down, palms flat on the desk her face inches from Renee, whispers) Oh, want to know a secret? (Renee shakes her head and looks down at her notebook) I forgot to say this before: your writing sucks anyway. (Stands back up)
Renee: (looks up, enraged) My writing does NOT suck! It’s developing. It will get better once I actually go to college and learn to express myself better. Express my ideas.
Inner Voice: (raises eyebrows. sarcastically) “Express” yourself.
Renee: (pounds desk) If you’re me, why are you being so degrading? You’re mocking me. Aren’t humans supposed to be, like… self-preserving? Ugh! Screw this psychology crap! (Pushes Voice away by the shoulders)
Inner Voice: (walks around Renee’s back, puts hands on her shoulders) Exactly. I’m trying to show you the direction in which you should go. Wouldn’t you rather be living comfortably, in a nice big house, probably with a pool, than living in a one-bedroom apartment with limited money for groceries?
Renee: (shrugs Voice off) I’d rather be happy and poor than miserable and rich.
Inner Voice: I find that hard to believe. You may be saying that now, but I have a feeling once you’re hungry, cramped, and jobless, you’ll come crawling back to Mommy and Daddy.
Renee: And I have a feeling you’re wrong. For someone who’s… (Sounding a little confused) me… you’re definitely underestimating my passion.
Inner Voice: Well, I think—
Renee: (cuts her off, yelling) I couldn’t give a CRAP about what you think! You know what? You’re not me at all. You’re, you’re… you’re mom and dad. You’re every single lie they’ve told me. You’re the mix of them, tangled together in my mind. You’re like gum ground into carpet until there’s no getting it out. It’s there forever. But get this—the sticky, lying crap you’re telling me is getting out of my head. I’m sick of being told what to do. This is my life isn’t it? Let me make my mistakes. Let me experience hunger. Let me experience suffering. All the better to use when I write. You have to know what real life is like to reach the people that live in it. (Stands up, gets in Voice’s face) So guess what? You’re outta here: because my voice is mine and no one else’s.
Inner Voice: “Outta here?” Yeah, right. You think after almost eighteen years I’m just going to pack up and leave? I may go on a “coffee break” kid, but I’ll be back, don’t you worry. (stops, laughs) You’re not getting rid of me this easy.
(Backs away slowly as she’s talking until she’s off the stage)
Renee: (sits down, takes a deep breath. Starts to write again) I am—
Inner voice: Your voice doesn’t matter. (Almost in singsong voice: echoes)
Renee: (mutters) And neither does yours.
(Smiles and shakes head. Starts writing again)
I am no one special. But I know who I’m going to be… and I know who I already am. I know that in whatever I do, I will be happy. In any circumstance, whether it be pain, or need, or contentment, I’m going to be thankful for the passion I have. I will not let anyone else’s ideas define me. If I did, who would I be? Not what I am now: A writer. And my voice does matter.