On stage, at last

I think the reason I’ve put off starting this blog for so long is that, for me, as a writer, it poses issues of audience. I’m not writing a letter to one person, nor am I writing an essay that will be read by a professor, or a creative piece that might—on a good day—be published in a small and obscure lit journal. And I have to face it: My voice changes depending on whom I’m writing to. But being inexperienced in this medium, I’m challenged to find a new style, one I’ve never toyed with before. I know I don’t have it right now, but I’m hoping that it will emerge over time, similar to the way my voice in non-fiction writing did. I just sort of stumbled on it one day, and it’s never flagged.

I’ve heard before that the best way to write a piece that will be read by many is to write to one. It’s certainly been working with my thesis; I always have one reader—in this case, my thesis advisor—in my head. I can picture her, cocking her head at a funny angle when the words don’t work, or matter-of-factly adjusting her glasses when they do. And I think I know who this will be written to; in fact, I do know. I have a friend from my undergrad days whom I send frequent letters to; and he sends back the loveliest prose in return. And he once told me that when he reads my letters, he hears my spoken voice. I think that’s something that’s hard to convey in writing; that our prosaic voice should mimic the spoken. But then, isn’t that what the art of the story is all about? About the spoken? About the instinct to tell?

I think I’ve arrived. Maybe, now, I’ll start making time for writing in this forum. Amid the craziness of finishing up my thesis and trying to find a job, I could use some time to sit down and create, but not on a deadline. And I’m hoping that the effect, here, will by cyclical: By writing about my crafts—whether it be writing or letterpress or knitting—I’ll want to set aside time for them. And then by doing them, keeping that muscle memory intact, I’ll have more to write about.

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