Sparked by Words

Archive for October, 2014

Into the Pause

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Not a flicker of iridescent tinge

Nor delicate prance on glary petal

Not even a thin proboscis sliding into flower’s trumpet

But the poise of wings between nearly closed and shifting apart

The lingering slurp of flower’s honeyed scent

Butterfly shadow casts stain upon the bud

Pledge of nectar lunch and tangle of insect sex

This is the moment

The camera catches and flaunts to

The raving audience

Disciples

 

Not the blare of the indifferent phone

Nor the hitch in your voice greeting a remote guest

Not even your left hand clenched over the mouthpiece

But the grunts of accord between rasped whispers

The brazen intimacy of your contract that cancels the one we wrote

Hollow of estrangement as I puzzle the errors, the vacant margins

That twisted us apart and you into a stranger’s embrace

This is the rebus:

While I gather the threshed chaff of our marriage

The doldrums of the ended call

Secrets

 

Not the words on your scaled lips,

Nor the wave of your hand as you turn to face me,

Not even the slump of your hip braced against the wall,

But the pause between those words,

The hesitation of what to consider and what to exchange,

The price of the bargain and the juggling of thoughts,

What will be revealed and even more, what remains eclipsed,

This is the signal:

The vacant sound of words not said.

You gamble all stakes,

Rook

 

Quiet I can bear, the silence of trees soughing in woods,

Of water shushing against the glass dust of distant sands,

Feathers that hush on their slow drift from soaring birds

To land with muted drop on sodden earth.

The strum of your mind as you motion me to hear you,

To value your story, embellished by impassioned account,

False speech crafted in the moment.

This is the detour:

A life beyond our marriage troth,

And I, the butterfly,

Betrayed

 

Heart image courtesy Pixabay.com public images

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Such a Voice as That!

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If you’ve ever heard my mom sing, you’d recognize her voice every time she blats out a song. It’s that unique. She brays, she’s loud, off key, flat, out of tune. Even the resonance of the shower stall does not improve her voice, and singing lessons would be about as useful as a water filter in the middle of the Sahara. Mom sings with gusto, like she can’t wait to get the words scraped out of the back of her throat and into the vacuum around her. Yet despite the fact that Mom has an absolutely awful voice, it’s truly a delightful experience to hear her sing because she exudes such joy of music. She beams, she glows, she bubbles with joie de vivre. Everyone who hears her sing smiles, but no one tells her to shut up because it’s fun to listen to someone create triumph out of singing so poorly.

Mom’s voice is so distinctive that everyone recognizes it. It’s terrible, yes, but distinctive. No one wants to sound like Mom. Except you, Writer, you really do want to sound like Mom. Distinct. You want your reader to grab your book and declare, OMG, it’s another exciting, wonderful book from Storyteller, the writer whose voice sounds like no other! Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

So exactly what is this business of writing voice? You know about the other aspects of writing: plot, conflict, character development, pro- and antagonist, setting, time period, and imperfect heroes. You’ve got down grammar, spelling, sentence construction, dialogue, cliff hangers, and secondary plots. But voice – how do you define writing voice? It’s often linked to dialogue, though as unique as speech may be, Southern drawl, Hawaiian pidgin, or Yiddish inflection, it’s more than the slant of a character’s words. Voice shows up consistently, even without dialogue to drive it forward. It’s what happens when the way the words are slung together engages the reader as much as the suspense or mystery that imbues the story. The author owns voice. (more…)