What better time than the first day of spring to start this blog. I’ve started writing new fiction and in the spirit of creating, this blog:
The Matter of Voice and A Writer’s Habit
Powerful voices cast their influence over the world. Consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech, words inscribed in our collective memory. In literature, voice is considered as the style of the individual writer, one’s basic vision and attitude toward the world seeping through words on the page. Narrative voice and character’s voice are crafted and identified by the subject matter of the story being told, but the writer’s voice is mysterious. It is the result of a writer’s “habits” as Flannery O’Connor said. “Art is the habit of the artist, and habits have to be rooted deep in the whole personality. They have to be cultivated over a long period of time.”
We can strengthen writing habit as we strengthen our voice. Voice, with its nuances of expression, arises from the soul. While we are creating our habit of art then, let our voice arise from the soul. How do we do this? A combination of sound and silence. In silence we allow ourselves first to be guided. Meditation, and connections with nature help me. When I become silent, sound emerges to show me connection. The wind and the birds herald in the seasons; whimsy and fury connect me to the truth of life’s depth, and authentic characters stir to life.
As characters speak, they add another layer of voice. Hear me. See me. Tell my story. Is the voice of one oppressed calling for a witness or an advocate? Or does a character seek to entertain and delight? Either way, the arts have the power to capture something greater than the individual parts.
A voice that speaks truthfully is a powerful voice. The concept may start as an abstraction, but the result is a felt experience…feeling and matter. This spring, I wish you a season of creating with the power of your voice.