Two Bills

Though I am only ever in one place at one time, there are really two of me. I will call us Noisy Bill and Quiet Bill. Noisy Bill is very busy. He has a lot to do and a lot to say about what he has to do. He is good at parties, but is as irritable as he is excitable. Sometimes he feels that if he stops talking he will disappear. Noisy Bill is aware that he is called a writer, but he feels odd about this because though he won’t admit it to anyone, he is not the one who does any writing, nor is he the one who is asked to speak publicly to groups of people. This job actually falls to Quiet Bill. Quiet Bill is not busy at all. There is nothing at all he needs to do, and so does nothing until Noisy Bill asks him to.

Sometime Noisy Bill will try to do Quiet Bill’s job because he is tempted to do everyone’s job. This leaves him feeling insecure and grumpy. He does not like the idea of surrendering such important tasks to this other Bill. Surrender is for losers and Noisy Bill fancies himself a winner. But he also dislikes his own results, and so by and by cedes the floor to his un-busy half.

Fortunately, Noisy Bill still has a job to do, which pleases him. He likes to feel needed. His job is to ask Quiet Bill questions and listen carefully to the answers and turn those answers into words. Quiet Bill cannot speak, you see. His only language is what Noisy Bill calls feelings. When Noisy Bill’s words align with Quiet Bill’s feelings, Noisy Bill is pleased, not because these words are good or exciting or funny or profound, but because for a moment and after much resistance the two at last are one.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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