Now you’re confused.
Cleavage is a great new website by Kelly Diels, a writer I recently mentioned as someone worth reading and getting to know.
Now you can. What follows here is a guest blog from The One And Only Ms. Kelly Diels, one of the brightest new writers — she may argue how new she is, but she’s new to me — I’ve come across in a long time. Check out Cleavage and see.
Quick note first: ARE YOU A ROMANCE WRITER? I have an in-your-face guest blog up today on the Romance Writers of America: Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranomal Chapter website.
And now, enjoy Kelly Diels of Cleavage.
Voice. The Beginning
by Kelly Diels
Voice. What else do you have?
Mechanics. Craft. Structure. Story. I’m not there yet.
But I do have a voice that gets attention. It might be a Jennifer Tilly voice – and oh, how I wish to identify with Jennifer Tilly – or the dulcet stammer of Elmer Fudd or the I-don’t-even-know-what-to-call it of Janice from Friends. Pray that it is not Janice from Friends.
How did I get that voice?
Online dating. You haven’t persuaded with hot copy until you’ve tried internet dating. I am the mistress of enchanting e-mails. It might be my super power but then you should see what I can do in a phone booth.
A few men into my online adventure, I thought: I better start a blog. This is too damn good to waste on these plentiful fish who are just gaping at my breasts, anyway. (No judgment. I’m pretty sure that’s why I’ve got ’em.)
Even before the online baiting of wayward men, I understood voice. I roared out of bed and into English literature classes and proceeded to purr about Harlequin romances. If I was feeling particularly upscale, I’d quote a lil’ Margaret Atwood. Highbrow, I am not. Pop culture owns my ass.
So does poetry. Especially poetry that masquerades as prose. Even more so poetry that reaches into your chest to rake its dirty nails across your chalkboard heart and then stumbles off to bed for drunken sex with Japanese tourists.
I heart Charles Bukowski who proves that poetry will get an ugly guy laid. Well.
Historically, that’s why a lot of famous poets were men (that and institutionalized sexism). Ugly women can get sex any time (thanks, institutionalized sexism!) but unattractive men need to cultivate a talent or a bank account. (Replied the nymph to the shepherd.)
And then there’s Clark Blaise. I don’t know if he’s layable or not but his short stories screw with voice and point of view. His “Eyes” is disconcerting. You talk to your audience like this and as a reader you resist. You surrender. You become the story. Hello.
The second person is new but the convention itself is an old address. Think Clarissa. Jane Eyre. Dear Reader, I married him.
Possibly that’s the key to voice: you will only be heard if you talk to your people. Directly. If you talk at them, you’d better sing.
Chant like Muhammad Ali, who famously scatted ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’. Ali is an anomaly: he is so pretty that he didn’t need pretty words to be memorable.
And yet, here his words are, thirty years later. Serenading us.
That’s poetry. That’s voice. The sting, the slap, the sweet ‘n sour. The subway rumble disintegrating beneath a lingering high note.
Sometimes, when the fat lady sings, what you’re hearing is the beginning.