A Lost Voice

Last week a unique voice died.

Actually, each of us has a unique voice, but writers often hear that agents and editors are looking for a “new” voice, or that it’s “voice” they’re interested. I’m never quite sure what that means, and I’m not sure they know, either. What I do know is I like reading some writers more than others, and that I can recognize certain writers by their “voice.”

Voice, in my opinion, is made up of the words we choose, the sentence structure that predominates our stories, even the subject matter. It’s style and content.

Ever notice when someone you know phones, how even without caller ID you immediately recognize the person? Or when you see someone you know walking in the distance, you know who it is? With vocal voice, it might be the pitch and the greeting. With body movement, it might be the profile of the body or the type of step. For me, it’s the same with the written voice. There are certain elements that are uniquely mine, uniquely yours.

I guess some writers can change their voice. I know I change certain aspects of my writing when I switched from pure romance to mystery; nevertheless, I think there are more similarities than differences. The style might be different, but not my delivery.

I know there are certain people I like listening to. There’s a retired lawyer from the south. Whenever he reads part of his wip I sit back and relax and enjoy the cadence and subtle humor. On the other hand, there are some voices that grate on my nerves; they seem to go on and on and just won’t get to the point. We each have our preferences and our personal styles. That’s why there are so many different writers and types of books.

My friend who died (actually, she was more of an acquaintance but she felt like a friend) had a stream of conscious style of writing that I loved. She could make me smile even when writing about a serious subject. Ironically, the last piece she wrote that I read was about dying. Here’s a bit of it to give you a sample of her voice.

This subject is a bit of a drag. Would it be appropriate to consume more wine to loosen up my brain? Would it be disrespectful?
Anyway, I was interrupted by a phone call, but I now have two more sayings. “Kick the bucket” and “croak.” They both seem like country sayings, and they stir up weird visions. But again, as I am wont to do, I wander.

She often wandered in her writing. That was part of her “voice.” So. today my blog is my farewell to a voice I will miss. I’ll end with the last line of her essay.

The last stage of grief is acceptance. And that’s a good feeling. I hope we all get there soon. Rest in peace…

My feelings exactly, Charli. Rest in peace.

Charlotte Humphreys
1943-2017

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24 Responses to A Lost Voice

  1. Louise Reiter says:

    Maris, thank you for a beautiful tribute to Charli. She was one of the first members when I started the group seven or eight years ago; she and Roger were a package deal. I will miss the smiles her writing brought to my face. I will miss her sparkling personality and humorous words.I will miss her.

  2. Gone, never forgotten. A lovely tribute to your interesting friend. As an aging fast senior, I’ll be 86 on the 13th day this month, I often wonder how in the world this happened since I’m still perky, dancing with my cane after a bad fall yet still shaking my booty and writing every day.
    Romance is in the air with humor in my life. Long may all of us wave. Thanks for listening.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Waving back, Charmaine, and less than a decade behind you. I truly believe age is how one perceives it, and as writers we can be a child or an old lady, all on the same page. Keep on shaking your booty.

  3. Melissa Keir says:

    What a wonderful post about your friend. Voice is hard to explain to students as well but they all can hear a Dr. Suess book and know it’s him. 🙂

  4. That’s a lovely tribute to someone who sounded strong and lively right up to the end. I liked your definition of voice and how we recognize people even by their walk. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Anne says:

    Because of her writing, Charli’s voice will always be heard. Thanks, Maris.

  6. Maurine says:

    Nice tribute to your friend, Maris. She sounded like someone interesting to know. I think voice is kinda like pornography (apologies for the analogy if I offend anyone): I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it. Your friend did have a nice voice.

  7. Thanks for sharing a bit of Charli’s writing. I can see why you enjoyed her “lazy-river” voice. So sorry for your loss, Maris.

  8. Sharon says:

    That was really nice. I didn’t know Charli for long, but enjoyed her warm, positive energy in the group, and loved her writing Voice. She will be missed.

  9. Hi Maris,

    Death is loss. Sorry that a fine voice has been silenced.

  10. Diane Burton says:

    A lovely tribute, Maris. I’m sorry for your loss.

  11. roger says:

    I finally got to reading this. Thank you.