Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice June 30, 2017

My son Woelke sent this along, from Louis Menand:

The real basis for the metaphor of voice in writing is not speaking. It is singing. You cannot know a singer from her speech, and although ‘natural phrasing’ and ‘from the heart’ are prized attributes of song, actually singing that way requires rehearsal, preparation, and getting in touch with whatever it is inside singers that, by a neural kink or the grace of God, enables them to turn themselves into vessels of musical sound. . . . What writers hear, when they are trying to write, is something more like singing than like speaking. Inside your head, you’re yakking away to yourself all the time. . . . What you are trying to do when you write is to transpose the yakking into verbal music; and the voice inside, when you find it, which can take hours or days or weeks, is not your speaking voice. It is your singing voice—except that it comes out in writing.

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