Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mark My Madness

Have you ever lost an ability that meant the world to you? 

There I am! Crystal the Pistol--AKA, the unbeatable
Chicken!
Many years ago, I performed in a madrigal choir. (Imagine 600+ people auditioning for a coveted 25 spots. Yup. Now you know I'm epic. ;) We sang and danced and performed ALL over the place. In a typical week, we performed between 1 and 3 times (with 3 to 5 weekly rehearsals--above and beyond personal vocal lessons, and 2 other choirs). During the holidays we had 5 performances a week. It was amazing, and exhausting.

When the year ended, I ran off to college and auditioned for choir only to discover I could no longer sing.

No.

Longer.

Sing.

I mean yes, I could open my mouth and let out sound, but the vocal quality that had been praised as "the voice of an angel," that part was gone. 

Gone.

Damaged, overused, worn out.

It was like losing a leg or arm. 

I spent the next 5 YEARS believing this most treasured aspect of my life was dead. An eternity. I turned to composing music via piano while trying not to lament. Trying hard. One day, as a married woman and mother to a young child, I opened my mouth and discovered that all things can heal. Given time. Given effort.

I share that because today Mark Koopmans is here as part of his blog tour with a story much more dramatic than mine, one that resonates powerfully:


 

First, let's clear up last week's excitement.

Murees Dupé shared with us a THE AMARANTHINE, along with two truths and a lie. Those who guessed the lie correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win an eBook.

Murees' Game:


1. I studied to be a vet.

2. I had to stick my hand up the rear end of a ewe as she was giving birth, to help turn the lamb that was in distress. 

3. In my student days I used to work with cattle that weighed over 800 kg each.


The lie: #1. Unfortunately, she didn’t study to be a vet. Her degree was in animal production and farm management. Can you believe she was afraid of cows before? Not so much anymore, though.

Way to guess everyone! And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...


Congrats, Cathrina! 

And now for this week's feature... 

Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch. 

Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others. 

Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith 
and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?
Get your copy HERE.

Ready to meet the author?

Mark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing  career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night.

Mark gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win a signed paperback of REVIVAL. (US only)

You have until Tuesday, December 1 at 1 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answers on December 3.

TRUTH OR LIE

1. Growing up in Dublin, Mark (13) was often bored. One day he saw an old mattress that someone had dumped over the side of the bridge. (The old “canal” below was now a filled-in grassy trail.) Mark thought about it for a few minutes, then he climbed over the edge of the cement bridge, and jumped about twenty feet onto what was (soon discovered to be) a very thin mattress. (No bones were broken in the making of this paragraph, but someone had to drive Mark home!)

2. Mark once worked as a manager for Planet Hollywood and would control the video clips shown on the many screens dotted around the restaurant. On this very busy day, (we’re talking 1998) he decided to show an (unedited) scene from Braveheart. Walking around the floor, he enjoyed watching people watching the clip—until he realized the scene included a series of swear words that sounded like “truck”… and they were about to go out live on the expensive, loud speaker system. (Luckily, Mark made it back to the A/V room and hit delete… just in time!)

3. Mark once kind of, er, bumped into (and woke up) Mohammad Ali, who was taking a nap while on a visit to a Cheesecake Factory Express in Chicago (now closed). Mark only hoped The Champ would forgive him and agree to take a picture with him—and he did!)

How about one more chance to win, eh?


So sleuths, which is the lie? Have you ever lost an ability that devastated you? Do you love redemption stories?

101 comments:

  1. I'm glad you rediscovered your voice again!
    Mark, Mark, Mark. Do you know what day it is?
    I'm going to say the third one is the lie.

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  2. I don't know, I'm horrible at these! I'm gonna say...#2 is the lie. Congrats to Mark on his book, it sounds very inspirational!

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    1. Thanks! Donald's story really was a pleasure to share:)

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  3. They all sound so much like Mark I have no idea.

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    1. Haha!! I don't know what to say :) I've led an interesting life :)

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  4. I knew it! I knew you were epic. :) Glad you got your voice back. Congrats to Mark! Sounds like a good read. Great to see him here.

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    1. Thanks Karen, and it's great to be here (I had no idea Crystal had experienced a loss to her voice, too...)

      Some posts are just meant to be :)

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  5. I'm guessing number one is the lie? Who knows. And glad you got your voice back!

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    1. And #1 is the.... [please insert 25 cents to continue this reply...]

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  6. I got laryngobronchitis two years ago. I couldn't even croak out a word for a full week. It was the worst feeling ever, and my choir sang a song that they never sung again, so I never got to sing it with them. :(

    I'm going to say #2 is the lie. The other things seem like things Mark would do. lol

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    1. I do hope your choir sings that one song again... never say never! (And, very happy to hear your recovered 100 percent:)

      PS: I have no idea what you're talking about, Deb. I've lived a sheltered life!!)

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  7. I'm going to guess #3 is the lie, but he knows the guy it did happen too! LOL I've no idea! Great game!
    Inspiring story!

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    1. Ahhh... you may be on to something... or not :)

      Pehaps:)

      Thanks, Yolanda :)

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  8. Crystal the Pistol -- I love it! It wonderful that your voice came back.

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  9. How awesome you discovered you could sing again. And congrats to Mark on his new book.

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  10. Glad your voice returned! And I think you're right - most things can and do heal, to some degree anyway, over time.

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  11. I love come back stories and I'm glad you got your singing voice back. I'm going to pick #2 for Mark's lie. I don't remember there being that many swear words in Braveheart.

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    1. All I will say is this: Remember, there is an Irishman in the movie, and those guys swear a lot - except for me, because my mom says I was a very sweet boy.

      #YaRight

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  12. You ARE epic! I still remember those songs you uploaded last year!! I felt the same way about writing for a long time, but I was never super great before - I just hit a period of being completely unable to write more than a few thousand words of anything. It felt pretty awful.

    I'm going with #2 for the lie. Though...I dunno!

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    1. [Dodgy Game show host voice] Krystal, you now have a one-in-three chance to win. Thanks for playing :)

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  13. Glad to hear your story had a happy ending and you recovered your voice. Do you know what caused you to lose the ability?

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    1. Just overuse. Singers are only supposed to use their voices for singing purposes a maximum of 3 hours a day.

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  14. So, so happy for you that your voice came back... yours is at least a beautiful-sounding one.... mine? People are always telling me to shut up and be quiet :)

    Thanks Crystal for letting me stop by on a Writerly Wednesday and play the Truth or Lie game. (This is a lot of fun, reading all the different comments :)

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  15. I'm so glad you got your voice back, Crystal. That sounds like a frightening time.

    Mark, your book sounds great! I've seen it pop up on social media. Going to go check it out!

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    1. Thanks Loni, and I hope you enjoy REVIVAL if (or when!) you read it. Donald's journey really is amazing:)

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  16. Happy about your voice too, Crystal! I used to be a voice student. My teacher always reminded me to protect my throat. Once, I lost my voice for 9 weeks because of something traumatic that happened. But it came back and all was well.

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  17. I can definitely how that must have felt. :( When you feel like your talent is no longer. It's sort of how I felt when I took a hiatus from writing, and when I tried to come back, a lot of the progress I made lost.

    I'm so glad to hear you found your voice again. :)

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  18. yay, so happy it came back! I'm like that with dance/gymnastics. I LOVED it as a child and teen, I could do splits and bridges and high kicks and pirouettes and all that fun stuff and then I stopped and splat... lol...but I know with practice anything can come back :)

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  19. Congrats to Koopmans on the launch of Revival. Hmmm, yeah, I had to stop ice skating and rollerblading after I had knee surgery. My knees are are better than ever, but no more sports that involve frequent falls for me.

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  20. Huh. I wonder if you lost your voice from overuse? That's so strange. I've lost the ability to remember things short term. It's very annoying, but not devastating. Revival sounds like a great read. I read many excerpts during the A to Z challenge last April. Good stuff.

    I think #3 is the lie. The other two are much more elaborate.

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    1. I have a memory like a sieve...I write everything down on 3 by 5 cards!

      I would tell you which one is the lie, but I can't remember :-)

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  21. Huh. I wonder if you lost your voice from overuse? That's so strange. I've lost the ability to remember things short term. It's very annoying, but not devastating. Revival sounds like a great read. I read many excerpts during the A to Z challenge last April. Good stuff.

    I think #3 is the lie. The other two are much more elaborate.

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  22. It must have been devastating to lose your singing voice for that long, Crystal. I went through a few months of being extremely hoarse some years back, and I could no longer sing first soprano. I still sang, but could only manage alto. Sounded kinda raspy and sexy, but it did NOT sound like me. I'm glad you got your voice back. It must have felt like a special blessing at that point.

    Yes, I love redemption stories and happy endings. Mark's book sounds like a real winner. I'll guess that #3 is the fib this time around.

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    1. I'm happy REVIVAL is out there for people to find inspiration from Donald's story.

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  23. I'd like to think he didn't put Braveheart on in the first place. Not that I would've objected to seeing the kilt flashing scene.

    I used to be an artist but one unkind remark from a close family member devastated me and I quit. Now I'm not very good at it.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Ha-ha... Braveheart is one of my favorite movies... sorry to hear that one comment stopped you from doing something you enjoyed...

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  24. So glad that you got your voice back.
    I am guessing (and it is only a guess) 2 for the lie. And wonder who was around to drive the young Donald home after the mattress plunge. That is so something my brothers would have done...

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    1. Hey now, it wasn't Donald who took the plunge off the bridge :) It was me, but I bet Donald did do some wonderful fun things like this, too!

      #2 is a good guess, by the way... (I'd put it in the Top 3 :)

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  25. You must have a really good voice in order to make it into that first choir you mentioned, though I'm sorry about the second one. But at least you were able to reclaim your voice later on. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my writing, because I haven't worked on my manuscripts in months. I've been working so much that I haven't had time, and I'm worried that it'll be that much harder to get back to writing once I finally get a break from my job.

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  26. I stopped singing by choice in college. I thought I was too busy to join the choir or chorus. I sing on my own now, but think I made the wrong choice back then...

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  27. Oh yeah, some things I can't do if i want to stay upright haha stinks, but life goes on.

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  28. Wow what do you think caused you to lose your voice for a while? I'm glad it returned!

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  29. What a story about losing your voice! I'm like the others here and want to know what happened. I'm glad you got it back though. My passion was for downhill skiing. I used to go at least every week and was on the ski patrol at one point. Then we moved to Florida. Not much snow here :( I still think of it, and want to go again, but now it would mean a big, expensive trip and I'm the only one in my family who likes it.

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  30. Inspiring story! And so is Donald's. I guess you lost your singing mojo but I'm glad it returned.

    Hard to pick out a lie! Mark could have done all of them. I'm going to go for #3.

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    1. Nick, Nick, Nick... look at my sweet, innocent face... How could I ever bump into the sleeping and former Heavyweight Champion of the World...

      That's preposterous!! Or is it?? Maybe I just want you to think so...

      (Methinks, I need two glasses of wine to finish this Princess Bride scene !!)

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  31. Losing something you treasure as central to yourself is a hard thing to deal with. For awhile, I lost the use of both of my hands. That wasn't easy. Congrats to Mark!

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  32. Not being able to sing when you had such a lovely voice would be devastating. I haven't lost a skill. But if I don't draw in a long time, my drawings are horrible when I pick it up again. It takes several sketches and attempts until my drawing hand is up to par.

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  33. I've lost many abilities only to gain others.

    Love,
    Janie

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  34. It's hard when you lose something you really love, but we all have to face that some day. We have to enjoy things while we can.

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  35. Wow. I had no idea someone's singing voice could just stop. Glad you can sing now.

    Lie...#1... (Considering my track record lately, probably not.)

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    1. It might be... I mean who willingly jumps off a bridge apart from bored 13-year-old boys..... oh...

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  36. Did you ever find out why your voice was lost then came back? Was it damage to your vocal chords or just age?

    I'm going to guess 1 as the lie.

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  37. My voice really changed when I was a teenager. They never warn girls that their voices change too! I think the lie is #3.

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    1. Interesting choice (Haha... now, I'm starting to sound like a Magic 8 ball :)

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  38. Hi Crystal-wow! I am happy you healed~ How fascinating is Donald's story! I can't wait to read it. Congrats to Donald and Mark!!

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  39. YAY!!! I actually won for the first time!!!! Thank you Crystal and Murees!!! Can't wait to read your book!!!

    And I'm late to the party again. Congrats to Mark and his new book!!! And it's lie #2

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    1. Congrats Cathrina... maybe it will be two in a row :)

      Or not... (I'll check the Magic 8 ball later :)

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  40. I'm super happy for Mark! And all of his truths/lies made me laugh. I'm going with #2 as the lie--something tells me he didn't make it back to stop the video in time :)

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    1. *Thanks* Meradeth...I had a lot of fun thinking of three silly memories... (sadly there were a LOT of unfortunate stories to choose from!!)

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  41. Hmm...I'll guess the mattress one is the lie, but it's a tough call.

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your singing voice, but how awesome that it came back to you. Do you have any idea why that happened?

    I guess the closest I've come is when I stop kickboxing for a time and lose balance, flexibility, strength, stamina, and yes - some of my abilities. They always come back, but it's heart wrenching every time.

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    1. Glad to hear you don't lose your skills, JH... I admire anyone who has the determination to learn any type of martial arts!

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  42. I was never gifted with any impressive talents. Being the queen of mediocre has the upside of not suffering bitter disappointments.

    I'm going with #3 as the lie. I'd hope with all our years of chats that him bumping into Ali would have come up.

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    1. Some things I have kept to myself - waiting for Crystal to invite me here this week :)

      (I'll share the full story - once the truth comes out :)

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  43. I'm guessing #1 is the lie. Congrats to Cathrina.

    I used to draw a lot and sometimes I worry that one day I won't be able to draw at all. I'm glad that I can still do it during the infrequent times I pick up a sketch book.

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    1. The Mattress is King (someone should open a bedding store using something like that for a title.... oh...)

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  44. Hi Crystal - I have to comment even if I'm so late. What a great addition to Donald's story .. such a brilliant reminder ... that these things can happen.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Like I said before, I was shocked to hear Crystal had something similar happen to her... but I'm so glad both stories ended well :)

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  45. I'm guessing Number 3 is the lie, but I'm hardly ever right.

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    1. You never know... THIS week may be the week :)

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  46. I'm going with number 3 is the lie.

    Wow about your voice. I never knew that could happen.

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  47. You're like Superwoman, Crystal. Tell me what you can't do?
    I, sadly, lost the ability to sniff out rich men with Aston Martin's. I now have to get my thrill at James Bond movies....sigh.

    I think #3 is the lie.

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    1. Haha! Never say never, Jules... watch out for anyone drinking martinis...

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  48. I love stories like the one in this novel! (and how awesome it was that you sang and dance and won that coveted spot back in the day, Crystal! I didn't know that.) I love music in general, and am always fascinated by the talent show auditions, especially the ones who blow away the judges. :)

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  49. Sorry you had to go through that, Crystal. I was a professional singer before I retired and had to sing through colds, bronchitis, and over-packed schedules. I only did covers, so I knew which songs wouldn't strain my voice, luckily never having your problem. Glad you're better and can enjoy yourself with singing again!

    Mark's book sounds awesome! That blurb is exciting and truly professional. I wish him loads of success!! :)

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  50. I am so glad your voice came back and that it wasn't permanent. I can imagine that this is a problem that happens to other people who sing a lot. It must be a dream to sing again.

    Mark's book also sounds very interesting. I am guessing the lie is #2- but boy it is hard. :)
    ~Jess

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  51. I don't know, with Mark all of those sound true. I'm guessing no lie.

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  52. I "lost" my voice for close to ten years before rediscovering singing, I can no longer hit the notes I used to hit, but I'm still having fun with re-engaging my songstress side :-)

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  53. I've never been able to sing. My hope is I wake up one morning with the ability to do so!

    I think Mark's lie is #2

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  54. Wow. That had to be devastating to lose your voice! It's like me not being able to use my hands to play! I'm so glad your voice healed.

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  55. Glad you got your voice back eventually:) As for Mark, I always enjoy reading about his adventures:)

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  56. Sometimes it's hard to remember - that it's all good . . (whew, what a challenge)

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  57. Your story is so inspiring, Crystal. Happy your voice returned. Mark's story sounds amazing too. Would love to read his book. True life novels do appeal to me. I think #2 is the answer. Not sure.

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  58. That had to be awful considering what a great voice you must have had! I used to sing in choir but gradually I lost that voice too. Your story is inspiring.

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  59. I don't think I've ever lost an ability like that, because writing is the only creative-type thing I've ever been any good at. (I spent years thinking I could draw. I was wrong.) But I know I'd be devastated if something happened and I couldn't write anymore. O_O

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  60. Amazing story! Glad your voice found its way back!

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  61. That's awesome that you got your voice back. For most people that that happened to that I know of, it just never came back. Puberty struck like a cruel mistress and robbed them of their singing voice.

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  62. I'm going to guess #3 as the lie, although it'd be cool if it was true. Overusing anything is never good. I'm glad your singing voice came back with time. I used to love singing and acting. It was my life from age 15-20, and then social anxiety took the passion away. Then again, it was probably a good thing because I wouldn't be where I am today if I had continued along the path to a singing/acting career.

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  63. I'm glad your story had a happy ending. I'm learning it's not just footballers that get used up and tossed my ambitious coaches.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  64. Just dropping in to wish you and yours a happy day today. I'm thankful that writing has brought me the opportunity to get to know you. Be well.

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  65. Great that you got your voice back. But also awesome you got your writing voice.

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  66. Hey, buddy, sorry I haven't stopped by. I've went from extreme worry over Christopher to celebrating. I had no idea you sung. To lose it and then for it to come back. Talk about a seesaw. We have so much to be thankful for. xoxoxo

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  67. We have so much in life to be thankful to be. Its awesome you have your singing voice.

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  68. That sounds like an interesting book. Congrats on being in a madrigal choir, back in the day. I was never *that* good, but I used sing pretty well, and now I don't sound that great. I'm glad your singing voice came back! Thanks for sharing!

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  69. I love singing, so I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my ability to sing.

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  70. Congratulations Mark!
    And yay, I'm so glad you got your voice back, Crystal!

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Hit me with your cheese!