mad in pursuit journal


Voice of the fox

Isn't there a saying or line of poetry: "April breaks your heart"? No doubt it was uttered by a transplanted southerner who thinks April in upstate New York is spring. The air says winter but my furnace-dried ghost-white skin says, "Rebirth. Gotta have it."

I spent the past couple weeks doing some skill-building and taking writing more seriously than in recent months. I feel like I need to take it up a notch. I can string sentences together passably well and I can put a drawing together if I invest the time. But do I have a strong point of view that translates into a style? A voice?

I'm sure that for really talented hedgehogs* style is something that emerges unconsciously from their tireless practice. They break through. We foxy* dilettantes can do a little bit of everything and are adept at imitating everyone else. Maybe we are meant to be the clever technicians... jacks and jills of all trades...

I did about 45 interviews with writers who have what I think of a strong personal style. And, in doing those interviews, one of the things I found out was, to a surprising extent, they don't think about this and/or aren't aware of their own style. So it's one of those things that comes out fairly naturally. If you really set about trying to create a style, it's a little forced and artificial. [Ben Yagoda interview]

But wait. I don't want to talk myself out of working on my point of view. I suspect there are plenty of foxes out there with unique voices and immediately identifiable styles.

Let the week begin.


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* My fox & the hedgehog entry