Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This, That, And The Other

Early this morning I received an email containing a tip for the aspiring author regarding how to "get published." It suggests that your author's "voice" might be one of the things an editor is attentive to while reading your query or your submission.

"What exactly is voice, anyway," I asked myself, and having no satisfactory answer handy I then Googled "voice" and read at About.com that "voice" has two meanings as it concerns creative writers:

1. Voice is the author's style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character.
2. Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator; a persona.

It also states: "Because voice has so much to do with the reader's experience of a work of literature, it is one of the most important elements of a piece of writing."

And it continues with: "Young writers are often urged to find their own voice in fiction, but many teachers believe that voice is something that emerges naturally as a writer develops."

Well, if that be the case then why pursue the subject?

Now, that's a good question. And my immediate impulse is to answer, "Don't."

So I won't. Not now, at least.

A couple of days ago I was notified that in a recent dispute between myself and a fellow-writer, a man for whom I have much respect and a goodly measure of affection, that he has now come to believe that I was right and he was wrong.

I thought about that for a while and then composed this little answer:

There's no such thing as right or wrong;
different people have different beliefs. I
find that my beliefs change just about as
often as a lady's taste in undergarments.

I did not send that to him, though. Somehow it seemed wrong to do so. Too 'flip' perhaps? Too subjective? It did in essence say what I wanted to say but something cautioned me to hold back. And then I decided it best to not respond at all.

So I did not.

Not directly.

Recently I read the following sentence:

"My copy of The Concept of Benevolence by T. A. Roberts, in the series New Studies in Practical Philosophy, was deaccessioned from a university library."

Well . . . a new word, a completely unfamiliar word: deaccessioned.

Using Google, I entered... define:deaccessioned ...and was returned the definition:

Selling or disposing of books from a collection. Librarians use the simpler and more descriptive term "weeding."

Marvelous! Simply marvelous.

A friend sent me the following:

From The London Times . . .
"A Well-Planned Retirement"

Outside England's Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant. The fees were 1 for cars ($1.40), 5 for buses (about $7)

Then, one day, after 25 solid years of never missing a day of work, he just didn't show up; so the zoo management called the city council and asked it to send them another parking agent.

The council did some research and replied that the parking lot was the zoo's own responsibility. The zoo advised the council that the attendant was a city employee. The city council responded that the lot attendant had never been on the city payroll.

Meanwhile, sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain or France or Italy is a man who'd apparently had a ticket machine installed completely on his own and then had simply begun to show up every day, commencing to collect and keep the parking fees, estimated at about $560 per day -- for 25 years.

Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over $7 million dollars...and no one even knows his name.

"A genius is a genius ... and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race."
--Ayn Rand

I do not understand the significance of the above quotation.

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