Revise Your Voice

First I’d like to mention the resonance I had to a comment Peter Elbow made “Handwriting is more personal and body-connected than typing, so handwritten words are often experienced as more ‘voiced’ than typed or printed words” (Elbow 6). How I felt this in my soul. I cannot write my poetry, or short stories in a digital setting. The words don’t come out, they don’t sound right, they don’t have my voice. Another thing I’d like to mention is his use of italics. Every time I read a word in italics, whether in my head or out loud, I read/said it differently. either changing the volume of it or its pitch.

Elbow changing the way he assigns homework in order to better teach voice is wonderful. “Your homework is to prepare yourself to read this text aloud so that listeners without a text will really understand it” (Elbow 9). The emphasis on without a text is great, especially if you’re teaching Shakespearean plays. I always recall my favorite undergrad Professor, Dr. Gover, saying that these plays must be watched and heard not read. This way you can see “meanings in remarkable detail and actually feel those meanings in their bodies” (Elbow 9). The best example I can give is the double entendre in Act 3, Scene 2 of Hamlet [my favorite Shakespearean play] “Did you think I meant Country matters”. If you just read the lines the meaning might be lost, however if you listen to it……………..

(sorry about the quality, it was the best I could find)

Voice has such a important role in our writing. I often wonder if people hear my writing with my voice. Would my audience know where I would put inflections, or read my parenthetical side comments more casually. Admittedly, I only ever use my own regular voice in my writings. The feigning of professionalism or putting on a fraudulent air of higher academic speech only separates you from the audience. I’m sure there are ways to write in your own voice and revise your writings to better suit it for academia.

On the note of revision, Nancy Sommers article mentions that “what is impossible in speech in revision” (Sommers 379). The reason why I love writing is this ability, the ability to revise your words. When spoken, words are released into the ether never to be. When it comes to revising, I believe proper strategies need to be taught along side every other lesson. Genuine revision, is not about the misspelling and improper placement of commas. It’s about having the ability to “identify the ‘something larger’ that they sensed was wrong and work from there” (Sommers 383). Thinking about this made me remember my past revisions only focusing on words. Rephrasing, finding synonyms, never looking at the bigger picture.