Voices on the page

I read a post today on the subject of the individual writer’s voice, specifically the use of punctuation, breaking rules of grammar, using the same style of writing repeatedly…run-on sentences, dashes, parentheses, foot notes, etc…

The post included quotes from several writers talking about their personal writing style quirks, why they use them, how their writing style is part of their message, and it was validating, encouraging, reassuring.

Sometimes I’m intimidated. I know the blogging world is nothing if not a platform for the individual writer’s voice, and that includes everything from the way some writers have humor pouring our of their keyboards to the way others use profanity, to the use (and mis-use) of punctuation, spelling, and grammar in general.

Still, sometimes I worry. If I write the way I talk, inevitably, I break rules. And I’m not funny enough, or a strong enough writer to get away with it. Am I?

Don’t answer that! I’m not looking for reassurance, just typing out loud here.

The answer is, no, I’m not that good a writer.

But maybe, in this forum, that’s not important.

What’s important is that I’m sharing my reality, and I’m always happy when someone comments as if to say, “Hey, that’s a reality I know too!”

I’m happy when someone comments out of empathy, or sympathy, or to share a different perspective. Because that’s the truly rich world of blogging.

Did you ever think that writers of past eras didn’t get the kind of feedback and interaction we receive through this medium? Good or bad, you’re putting yourself out to the world, and the world (or your 10 readers, or whomever!) has a chance to interact.

That’s exciting to me. It’s fun to me to have the exchange that comments offer…to know this isn’t a one way street. Whether I’m commenting on someone else’s post, or reading and replying to comments on my blog, the process reminds me I’m part of a larger group, a circle of writers, just like me, who use this platform to say just what they want, just as they want.

And the more I write, the more I read, the richer I become, and the better I become. No false modesty here…like anything else, practice actually does help this process.

So going forward, I’m going to write a little more freely…I’m not built to disregard the rules of grammar completely, and poor spelling is a particular pet peeve of mine. But I’m going to think less about style and let my voice speak for itself. I’m not likely to win any awards, but that isn’t what this is about anyway.

Here’s a link to the post. Maybe you’ll see something of yourself in the comments! Enjoy!

Goodbye white shoes, I hardly wore you

September, Labor Day weekend, and my Southern upbringing has kicked in. I wouldn’t be caught dead from now until next Memorial Day in white shoes. Just.not.done. At least for my generation. (Maybe this is more about my age than where I was raised…or both? I’ll have to get back to you on that.)

Mind you, I have no idea where this fashion dictum came from, or how it became so firmly impressed on my young self. All I know is that to violate this rule was taboo in my youth, and whether or not it matters to the fashion police now (if it ever did), I’m obligated to live with this for the rest of my life. You’d think it was important or something. But if it is, I don’t know why.

But not knowing didn’t stop me from passing the white shoes rule on to my daughter. Really I expand this to summer clothes in general…the only possible exception being a tropical location where it’s always acceptable to wear white, whatever the season. (And who decided that? Another fashion mystery!)

Perhaps it’s fortunate for me that I live in a climate that actually encourages me to return to my September-to-May uniform of turtlenecks and heeled pumps. The summer slides are put away. They didn’t get too much wear-time this year anyway. Miserable summer season here. But the weather, at this point, is not the point: I couldn’t violate the calendar. Just can’t do it. My roots are showing!

There are things you leave behind when you move from one side of the country to another: regional produce, local customs, favorite eateries. Without any effort on my part, my Southern accent has mostly faded away from long years of disuse (although it revives a bit when I go back for a visit). But some things…the white shoes rule, for instance…follow me about from place to place, a passenger in my head, mostly forgotten, but somehow silently monitoring the calendar, and then, ca-ching, like my oven timer, a bell goes off internally to remind me of The Rule. The same thing will happen Memorial Day…my Southern self will wake up, reminding me, nudging me. Change of seasons, change of shoes.