stoltzfoosblogWriter’s note: Hello, I’m Shawna, and the kind and gorgeous brains at Tellus360 have asked me to write blogs here periodically, for the next several months. I like this place and you do too, because you live in Lancaster City and your chest is open like a guest book. The Brains have told me that I can write about “pretty much anything,” and I look forward to testing that. Today, for my first little entry, I invite you into my inner ear space. But just the one ear. We wouldn’t want to get weird.

I hear with love.

I’m twenty-six and lucky. I can usually fix things. I like to be right.

I don’t hear very well out of my right ear. When I was young I had a series of painful ear infections that resulted in a hole in my eardrum. I cried at night. I cried on airplanes. I cried at school. I lived in and out of pain. I learned to close myself to sound. I heard with hate.

I hear with love.

The Eustachian tube is the part of the inner ear that allows pressure to escape. Mine doesn’t work. So the hole can’t grow closed. So it gets bigger. I hear less all the time. I hear with fear.

I hear with love.

Anger grows. I am twenty-six and lucky. I can usually fix things. The audio in the films I make is poor because I am a poor judge of audio, and poorer all the time. I hear with rage.

I hear with love.

I see the most highly-recommended surgeon around. There are a series of expensive tests and astronomical hemming and hawing. I hear with poverty.

I hear with love.

In an acting class, the instructor tells me I need to work on listening. I ask to be excused so I can sob in solitude. I hear with sorrow.

I hear with love.

The man I love is a musician. Our apartment is filled with instruments and microphones and audio equipment for the humans with two good ears. He takes me to concerts and the sound is warped and buzzes. I get dizzy. I hear with good manners and the pretense of good taste. I hear with heavy breathing and a repressed urgency to be alone, to be in an empty room, to feel two walls on my palms and listen to a voice that is clear, that will protect me, that will fight for me, that will speak to me without a need for biological equipment like spotless bratty eardrums. I need a superhero. I need to be my own superhero. I need to hear my own voice. I need to speak up for myself. To fight for myself. To stop crying in the doctors’ offices. To let the sound in, when I can, and hear it with love.

Okay. Okay. I hear with love.


Shawna Stoltzfoos is a writer, actor, and filmmaker who lives in Lancaster City, and the creator of the mini-series Young/Lancaster.