Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Voice

"Nothing should be easier than talking about ways in which I write about myself, but I find it isn’t at all easy. Indeed, in writing about myself I encounter a problem that engages me even as I write this sentence. The problem is how not to write merely about myself. I think the problem is endemic among writers whether or not they are aware of it. The basic elements of writing—diction, grammar, tone, imagery, the patterns of sound made by your sentences—say a good deal about you, so that it is possible for you to be writing about yourself before you even know you are writing about yourself. Regardless of your subject, the basic elements, as well as countless and immeasurable qualities of mind, are at play in your writing and will make your presence felt to a reader as palpably as your handwriting. You virtually write your name, as it were, before you literally sign your name, every time you write.”
—     Leonard Michaels, “Writing About Myself” (via fsgbooks)

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