Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Voice

The judges chided Siobhan for a lack of it. Writing instructors strive the importance of it, yet so many artists haven't a clue what it means to find and use their voice. I'm no different. I'm a chameleon writer, meaning I change style and tone so that both compliment the story. The writing in one novel is long and flowing. In other, short and to the point. In my opinion, what works for one piece won't work for another. But instructors point a long index finger at my work and command me to use my voice.

Eh? Do you, like, want me to sing my story or what?

I didn't begin to understand what they meant until a friend posted pictures of her daughter's sketches on Facebook. Beneath it, some sweet lady left a comment stating, "Your work is another voice to express yourself.

I read that, and a subject that had been elusive stood in startling clarity before my eyes. This is what our guides wanted, something that expresses us, the individual. Not just an imitation of another person's work, but what we, as artists with unique characteristics, backgrounds, and experiences can bring to the piece. Something that exposes our wants, our hopes, our desires. Our angst. Once found, that voice should be evident in everything we produce.

Siobhan is a wonderful singer. I hope she finds her voice, her way of expressing herself, instead of parroting others. I hope the same for myself. Understanding is half the battle.

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