Friday, January 12, 2007

For Friday Fluff Reading

I've been thinking a lot about the writer's voice, recently. When I guest blog on Eschaton, for example, I write in a different voice than here. Becoming aware of it (thanks, upyernoz) may help me to change that. But I realized that I have different images of who the writer is in different contexts.

Take my garden stories as an example. I have loads of them, all of them boring as hell, because I saw myself as the ancient wise gardener (wearing English boots and an old strawhat while examining the many gardens at the manor house) when I wrote them down. Here is one example which isn't quite as anally retentive as most of them but shows what the problem is:

Garden Tools

The most useful garden tool is a thumb and a forefinger with relatively long ragged nails. This tool can be used to cut flowers for the house, to crush all sorts of beetles and slugs and to check for life in presumably dead trees and shrubs by scraping their bark. It is also handy for picking mildewed leaves off lilacs and phloxes, for pinching off the growth tips of plants that otherwise would grow too tall and for scratching insect bites on the gardener. It is widely available and costs very little.

The second most useful tool is an expensive industrial-size wheelbarrow with wooden handles and an inflatable rubber tyre. Nothing substitutes for it, fully loaded and after rain, in enhancing the gardener's upper body development and sense of balance. It is also great for storing all those garden gadgets which gardeners somehow acquire but now fail to recognize. Don't let anybody talk you into buying a wimpy, light-weight wheelbarrow. This is a mark of a garden dilettante.

The third, and last, necessity for the gardener is a fancy English watering can with a set of interchangeable rosettes for the spout. (These will be lost in the first week of use.) The watering can should be green. Filling it with water from the garden hose teaches the gardener flood control. Trying to locate it in the green garden sharpens the gardener's eyesight and orienteering skills.

All other garden tools can be improvised from those in the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, or borrowed from gardening neighbors and demolition companies.

I really want to know if I could write like a wingnut or like a foul-mouthed liberal blogger, or if the voices I have are fairly limited in number.

Added later: I should have called this my memeME! post for Friday. Sheesh.