Issue #41 / May 2019
Dear Nick, a couple of years ago I found myself in the midst of a heated debate about how each of us imagined God’s voice. At least a couple of people said that God would sound like you. Not me. There is a twistedness to my idea of God that makes me think of Tom Waits. In your mind, does God have a voice and if so, is it a familiar one? Or does God make him/her/itself heard in other ways?
RUTE, LISBON, PORTUGAL
I hope the voice of God would be something other than booming, authoritarian and male. Wouldn’t that be a pleasant surprise? How nice it would be if God’s voice didn’t sound like Nick Cave or Tom Waits – or Morgan Freeman for that matter. What a relief that would be.
In the recording studio, when you multi-layer vocals, sometimes the more voices you lay down and the more varied they are, the more pure the tone of the chorus becomes, as all individuality is erased and a pristine collected sound flows forth. As you add more voices, a strange inverse reaction happens, and the smaller, more distilled and weirdly intimate the cascade of voices seems to become. Perhaps that is what God sounds like. Perhaps, God would have the combined voice of all the untold billions of collected souls, an assembly of the departed speaking as one – without rancour, domination or division; a great, many-layered calling forth that rings from the heavens in the small, determined voice of a child, maybe; sexless, pure and uncomplicated – that says ‘Look for me. I am here’.