Monday, October 08, 2007

Voice

My friend and former student Jordan, who goes by many names here (don'tcha, J?), keeps bugging me for a new post. Seems a few days go by and he needs something new. When I tell him to start a blog, he says he has nothing to say electronically. But he has lots to say in the comments portion of my blog. Okay. Whatever.

So I'll talk about voice, because that's how I knew it was him, commenting, just under a new screen name. I always know when it's him. Because of his voice.

I've talked about voice before, but it seems you can never say too much about voice. Voice is the writer's fingerprint. Take away the name of the writer and if you still know who wrote the piece or the book, that writer has got a strong voice.

Ron Carlson has a strong voice. So does T. Jefferson Parker. And Hemingway. And Melissa Bank. And...and...and...

Who do you think has a strong voice? Names...we want names!

9 comments:

Karl said...

Maybe you could charge him rent?

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

Stop it, Jordan!

Hector said...

I think you've named them all.

Don said...

George Saunders is, by far, the "voiciest" writer out there these days.

Ignatius Reilly said...

Lorrie Moore and David Sedaris pop readily to mind. Paul Rudnick, a hysterical writer for the New Yorker, also needs no introduction. He's so clearly on the page, every time. Perhaps John Kennedy Toole would have gotten there, had he stuck around.

I love the folks who can't hide behind their words. They've somehow managed to reconstruct this well-used language and make it their own. What a difficult and noble skill!

May we all come through so clearly on the page as Mr. J. Cheers to you Hector/Karl/Sweet n' Sour. I miss you.

Demian Farnworth said...

Of the books I've read recently, I'll tell you who doesn't have a voice: M. Cunningham [I confess, I only read The Hours], Jane Smiley [again, only one book] and P. Peterson [okay, you caught me: one book].

Not that I didn't enjoy these books, but each book I came away thinking you could substitute a number of different authors [who also don't have voice] for these books.

Those who do have that distinct voice: Ecco, Flannery O'Conner...

Amy Timberlake said...

Great blog! I always think of Toni Morrison when I think of voice. Jeffry Eugenides too (sp?), Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott -- there's a lot. Virginia Woolf. Those are some I think I could recognize without seeing their name.

Deborah said...

so what do you do with all of your baseball time??? ha ha!

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

Haha back atcha, Deborah....

Well, we're still watching baseball in this house, although the playoff games are few and far apart. We watched the Yankees on--was it Sunday? Then Monday night I taught. Last night I taught. So far I haven't missed our Angels. It's funny how your time gets filled. I imagine we'll see the DVDs we didn't watch from April through last week. I'm actually glad for the respite, not being a TV person to begin with.