Thursday, April 18, 2013


This morning as I bumped pinball-like around our tiny bathroom, trying to get ready for work without sending hairpins and lipstick tubes flying off the edge of the sink, I started thinking about those organizational consultants who write articles on Yahoo News about how to save space, de-clutter your life and become Zen and Feng Shui.  Suddenly I realized that I was actually composing one of these articles in my head, in exact imitation of their usual style.

One of my strengths as a writer is that I'm a bit of a chameleon - I can shape my writing to fit the audience and the style that's needed.  That has served me well in my current job, since I'm asked to do a lot of marketing and PR style writing which is very audience-driven.  Of course the flip side to this ability is that my own writerly "voice" is something that I've never really pinned down.  The uniqueness of a writer's voice has been overemphasized in recent decades (as I talked about here), but it is undeniable that each of the great writers of history, from essayists to poets to novelists, had something distinctively his own in his writing, which was usually then imitated by an admiring horde of also-rans.

I mean...could you read this paragraph and think it was written by anyone but the actual author?
He’s engaged to be married to Stiffy Byng, and his long years of football should prove an excellent preparation for setting up house with her. The way I look at it is that when a fellow has had plug-uglies in cleated boots doing a Shuffle-off-to-Buffalo on his face Saturday after Saturday since he was a slip of a boy, he must get to fear nothing, not even marriage with a girl like Stiffy, who from early childhood has seldom let the sun go down without starting some loony enterprise calculated to bleach the hair of one and all.

My newest writing venture is freelancing for the local archdiocesan newspaper.  I'm very excited about it, and hope it leads to additional opportunities in the future to write for specifically Catholic news sources.  But of course these assignments are hardly exercises in free-flowing creativity...which I guess is why it's nice to have a somewhat-anonymous blog to take a stab at writing that's a little more personal and exploratory.

The other option is to buckle down and write the next Great American Novel, as my dad has always threatened to do.  I'll keep you posted.


  1. If I ever did, I definitely was not serious about it.

  2. Guess who: "It is the saddest spectacle in the world--that of the crowd collected by a Wanted advertisement. They are so palpably not wanted by anyone for any purpose whatsoever; yet every time they gather together with a sort of hopeful hopelessness. What they were originally--the units of these collections--Heaven knows. Fate has battered out of them every trace of individuality."