Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Voice is Like a Snowflake
Pictures provided by: SnowCrystals.com
We've talked about how much snow and cold weather has affected our lives this week. Cheryl gave a comical view of her adventures. Jean tasked us to answer questions about our Christmas experience. Many of you chimed in. After gift-giving and partying with family, apparently snow, however pretty it makes the landscape, doesn't appeal to all. This is what makes my sojourn under the Tulip Tree so appealing, friends! I enjoy the many different ways the four of us look at life. No way is right or wrong. We value each other's strengths and weaknesses as well as the things that individualize us. That's the southern way. That’s the way things are at Okay, Listen Here, and I’m so thankful for it.
Though not quite as humorous as Cheryl’s trials, here’s my take on our snowy adventures of late (which have not seen our area since 1966). I’m drawn to the mystical matter that is snow. Like human fingerprints, no two crystals are alike. Snow starts in liquid form, whereas the human body is 90% water. Snow is dependent upon freezing temperatures. The human body must have a temperature of 98.6 degrees in order to function properly. Individual, yet similar. Complicated and unexplainable, writers (people), and snow, have much in common, deserving healthy respect.
As I gazed upon the glistening white surface around me on my way to work today, I thought about the many trillions of snow crystals covering the landscape. No two are alike. But many are needed in order to create the effect. Can the same be said for writers? For books?
You see, though it is said there aren’t any new stories out there, the way a story is told through an individual writer’s skill can spark a consciousness untapped. Look at the way J.K. Rowling galvanized readers, most notably this younger generation. Examine the process Stephanie Meyer used to generate buzz for her vampire saga. These authors rejuvenated an old theme, making it palatable for modern readers. Their vision was the same as any other writer: to be published, to tell stories and bring delight to readers everywhere. How did they do it? What jumped out from the page like a single snowflake, genuine, solitarily beautiful when all other snowflakes were just as sparkly? To find the answer, one must simply look at the writer’s voice.
Snow can mean many things to different people. It can enhance play, distract the workaholic, bring solitude or concern to travelers, shut in secluded homes, delay airplanes, close down freeways, disrupt entire cities, and force a slower pace. Snow can be cataclysmically life altering. It can destroy. If not controlled, fresh snow can increase the likelihood of avalanches. But in its beauty, it brings peace, solace, quiet interludes, and renewal. For the wash of moisture left behind when all the snow has melted nurtures the earth, readying it for spring.
Amazing isn’t it how a single ice crystal can herald such power en masse? So too can a writer’s voice impact a reader’s life. One word can change everything. String a few words together and you have the power to destroy or uplift, gather or dispatch, give life or kill. Whatever genre a writer chooses, a writer’s voice has power, and how a writer chooses to string his/her words together creates voice. Whether via horror, mystery, romance, suspense, young adult, inspirational, or mainstream, stories are the vessel for a writer’s voice. Voice makes the same Beauty and the Beast story exciting or disconcerting. Voice, can be frigid like snow or on fire like the thrumming pulse in a lover’s touch.
Each of us has a voice, whether we’re writers or not. How we choose to wield our powerful sword, “the word,” makes all the difference to the world, “agents/editors/readers,” a writer impacts. They are the ones who will be listening to us in rapt interest or buying our books. They are the landscape glistening with the words from our heart, which have been gleaned by “voice” and given access to an individual fingerprint called “style”.
It is through this process, fine-tuning voice, that our stories will be heard. Look at the world around you. Find in it a small token to cherish. If you have a dream, find a way to help it thrive. There is peace and joy to be found anywhere you look. And perhaps, like me, you will see in one snowflake the potential for success.
As we prepare for a New Year, what is the one thing you want to strive for in 2011 and what are you willing to do so your voice can be heard?