“You found your voice again,” an old friend said to me a few weeks ago. Where was it? In witness protection? Hiding out in a dim-lit basement in some nondescript suburb? It might seem like an odd comment, but it made complete sense. He was right.
In reality, this abstract, intangible concept that has riddled writers since the beginning of free expression was never lost. Instead, it was on hiatus while I tackled a new challenge – From Tragedy to Triumph. The difficulty in this project was that I was tasked with writing as if I were John Tartaglio. Having to think like him, sound like him, and, on some levels, live like him reminded me that I had a writer’s voice and it was not the same as his.
However, the process of realizing this was one of infinite edits and innumerable cuts as my own writer’s voice tried to speak up over someone else’s voice. I had to suppress it and, in the process, wrangle with my own ambitions in the context of the project. I felt like Garth Brooks when he attempted to transform into Chris Gaines, a move that signaled the death knell of his career. Was I ending my career before it even began? No; instead I learned more about my voice writing in someone else’s than I did in the years I spent trying sound like someone. This speaks to the organic nature of the writer’s voice.