I have been experimenting with writing for several years now, sharing short stories, screenplays, and one novel with writing friends, a wonderfully supportive group essential to my journey. There have been varied and multiple embarrassments over the mechanics of grammar. My embarrassment has been frequently total in scope and mind-boggling in depth! It seems I am addicted to commas and semi-colons and sometimes tense-challenged. For a moment, I considered acquiring a computerized grammar program. Perhaps if my writing was confined to business letters such a program would serve a need to mask any glaring grammatical faux-pas. But, if I wanted to write with the intention of communicating something from the heart and mind, a mechanically oriented computer program would only serve to white-wash, homogenize, or strip my writing of voice. Grammar should serve my voice and not the reverse. The journey to reinvention must include attention to grammatical skills not the acquisition of a computer program. There is another addition to my change in behavior!
Voice is the authentic identity of the writer and unless it can be freed the journey to writing faces a daunting obstacle I shall call veracity-challenged.
I have faced this challenge repeatedly, due in part to my grammatical inaccuracy. The largest villain, however, in the theft of me is simply me. I try too hard to write like a writer resulting in what on friend calls a purple prose, where purple is a polite substitute for pretentious.
A solution, or at least a starting point, is available by recalling my experiences with Linkletter’s Freeing the Shakespearean Voice. Thoughts must be freed in much the same way we free the production of sound: full, honest, supported, properly resonating with the requisite physical awareness and attention. All voices are musical; they are rhythmic, pitched, and resonant within the entire body, or perhaps focused in the head, chest, or below. If we are in the moment, we never take more breath than required to express the thought. If we are in the moment, our thoughts will chose the combination of sounds and rhythms to express our feelings, not the grammar programs rhetoric! My voice!
I made a concerted effort to write in the moment this weekend and the resulting short-story felt good. Tomorrow I shall post that story for comment. Was it honest? Was it authentic? Did it pull you into the simplicity of this story?