Remember the Bass-o-Matic, Dan Aykroyd on SSN?
Sometimes it sure seems like the days are being gobbled up, just that way. You drop one in the top about 7:30am, press Medium, and … there’s a horrible noise. Bones and scales. Nobody should have to watch this going on. And the result, when the late shows come on, isn’t nearly as nutritious as we’d like to pretend.
But I’ve over-blended the analogy, as usual.
I’m way behind on my blog reading. I’m behind on my blog writing. But while I’m waiting for consciousness to grind down to a nice, slow stir, here’s a little something to whet your appetite:
Finding your voice in your audience
I listened to an interview recently of the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. She was asked about the genesis of voice and said that it’s important to think about the person you’re writing to – ideally, an individual. She pointed to examples in her own work, and to whom each piece was addressed.
“A consciousness of who you’re speaking to and why is crucial. … Storytelling without an idea of who you’re telling your story to is a voice echoing in an empty room.”
Gilbert explained that this is true because we are different in the way we speak and act, depending on the company we’re in. And I think that’s true. I know it is. I can be very different with different people, if for no other reason than that each relationship imposes a disparate dynamic.
William Stafford said it all best, in his poem A Ritual To Read To Each Other.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
Yes, yes. But doesn’t this contradict what we’ve so often and emphatically been told by the teachers of creative writing, that we shouldn’t consider the audience at all? Don’t even imagine that there might one day be an audience, they say. Write for yourself. Because worrying about critical reception, misunderstanding, hurt feelings, etc., will kill all hope of creating art.
Well, then, so be it. So it goes. Let it be.
Doo bee doo bee doo.
And in case you’re wondering, it’s true.
I’m writing it all to you.