‘Voice’ comes up a lot when referencing a writer’s work, particularly collectively. It’s easier, or maybe more common, to get a feel for the author if there is a familiarity or history with their work. Since stumbling into the Medium world, I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that every single person (there were a couple trolls, but I don’t interact with trolls. I’m 37. And am not comprised of jilted nubbin dicks and unused adulting panties. If someone can only handle being heard but not hearing, then it is not an exchange. I’m zero interested in the ramblefuckery of someone who has, in all likelihood, just jerked off to the Trump Says ‘China’ montage on YouTube) I have interacted with has been articulate, aware, involved, and incredibly passionate. Further, they have been caring in ways that involved very specific and exceptionally thoughtful exchanges. Within this layered and increasingly history based community, one of the reoccurring comments, both to myself as I read others, and from others to me, has been regarding voice.
When it comes to voice with reference to texture, phrasing, and nuance, it often seems like there’s a journey involved in finding it. My violin teacher stressed my sound as my voice from the first lesson, and forever afterwards, I learned to see my creations as a direct and immediate extension of myself. Even if my music is a pile of unfocused dribbleshits, something cohesive stays that makes it my ‘voice’. Honestly, I think this is why anyone ever thought I might be halfway decent as a writer; something about my sound in music being me, my base essence, my everything, my only, made writing less choice riddled. If I had a thought or a feeling, it wanted out in a certain way, other words and turns of phrase be forgot and damned.
As my daily posts meandered on, I discovered that I was fractured. Even though I could say what I had to say the way it needed to be said, I so often…didn’t have anything to say. I never had this issue with classical music. I never want to practice, obviously. But the music always invoked a response in me. Without fail. In writing, I have fewer restrictions. I assumed that license would lead me to greater heights. As I fought the malignant tumor freedom afforded me, I realized my writing had taken different tones. Humor post. Serious post. Repeat.
I was nearly fine with it; I worried that this was just another fracture that didn’t need to be there. Why must I be either funny or serious? Why must it be anything? Ugh freedom is a satchel of man nipples. (aka useless.) (first person to snidely remark that freedom is a privilege no one should take for granted gets a sarcastic gold star.) I worried that one voice might outgrow the other, despite what my soul screams in the dark hours of frantic typing. I wanted one voice. My voice. Where was my voice?
I read a few fiction pieces from different writers, all of them beautifully written, but done from voices that weren’t theirs; the narrative in each story was of a person whose life experiences were ones the author had not experienced, even tangentially. As I read, I felt my shoulders hunch and my brow furrow. I wanted to know the words were real; I wanted to believe. If I didn’t know the history of Medium that I so relish, would I hesitate with my commitment to those narratives? What makes someone’s voice their own?
I have no firm stances. Yet. But, I realized that my fractured writing was a facet of my fickle soul. It doesn’t mean I am broken, and it doesn’t mean I will necessarily continue to write in tones. But it does mean that I am writing honestly, and that I am ready for more. My tones can be my fractured voice, and until they aren’t, I will let them say their piece.