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VOICE—Blogging as Our Characters

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Yesterday, I gave a writing assignment to write a blog entry for one of our characters, but using our own blog-writing style. So here is mine, written from the POV of the heroine of my soon-to-be work in progress A Major Event, Inc. (sequel to HEI). Meredith lives with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and has her BS/MS in Psychology—though currently works as an event planner in her parents’ corporation.

Living with SADness
Posted by Meredith Guidry

Next week is Mardi Gras and everything in the office is crazy with last minute details of the six events I’m personally handling. I missed group therapy this afternoon as I received a visit from the mayor’s wife, just before I was supposed to leave, and spent a couple of hours with her revising the menu for the mayor’s annual Mardi Gras Gala. So, I promised Tom I would make time tonight to post a blog so he can check up on me (hi, Tom!).

With as busy as I have been, it’s easy not to think about being in public or surrounded by people. I am so overwhelmed by the stress of wanting to make everything perfect for the clients that I do not have time to worry about whether the guy beside me checking out at Bordelon’s is judging me because I’m buying a bunch of frozen dinners and canned veggies instead of the fresh meats and produce that fills his cart. (Of course, having and using the option of self-checkout helps a lot, too—but then, when I swipe my Frequent Buyer card, I wonder if there’s someone on the other end of that computer system somewhere tallying how many Mama Thibodeaux frozen dinners someone can eat in a year without going into massive organ failure.) Anyway, the SAD has been easy to deal with during the day as long as I focus on the task at hand—making clients happy and making Mama and Daddy’s company look good. (Tom, I really don’t want to go into the whole parent-expectation thing tonight, okay?)

My cousin Anne will be home in a few minutes and wants to take me to look at place settings for her reception. I’m so excited for her, and I couldn’t love George more if he were one of my brothers. And yet I get this awful panicking feeling inside every time I think of Anne’s getting married. The diagnostician in me says this is simply a reaction to fear of change—of having to find a new place to live because Anne and George will be restoring the triplex back into a traditional Victorian house; or if my relationship with Anne—not just my cousin but my best friend—will alter significantly when she marries; and the responsibility and focus that has been thrust on me as her maid of honor…and the dread that I will disappoint her. I know what I should do is focus on the joy of the changes—getting out and finally getting a place on my own, away from family members who drop by at any and all hours of the day because of the close proximity of a house-turned-triplex and my apartment being on the ground floor (love you, Sis); the happiness and love Anne has found with George after enduring so many years of regret and pain because of Cliff. Focus on the happy—that’s what Rational Me says.

Irrational Me wants to huddle in a corner and mourn the loss of the familiar, the comfortable. So many times today, I found myself close to tears over the least little problems. I finally shut my office door, brought up the instrumental jazz mix on my MP3 player, plugged in my earphones, closed my eyes, and meditated on Isaiah 41:9–10:

You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, “You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Anne just pulled up, so I’d better post this so that my cell phone doesn’t ring in the middle of dinner with my therapist looking to see if I’m huddled in a corner somewhere.

No fears.

  1. Erica Vetsch permalink
    Thursday, February 15, 2007 9:05 am

    I’d say your voice came through beautifully. One thing that caught my eye is your sparing use of contractions, both in your blogging and in ‘Meredith’s’ blog post. Distinctive with a touch of formality. I like it.


  2. Kaye Dacus permalink
    Thursday, February 15, 2007 9:15 am

    Odd you should mention that…because it has to do with the discussion of our voice in writing historicals. It’s a style I adopted when writing RANSOME, but only after several months, as when I went back and reread the first ten or eleven chapters back before Christmas, I had to take out a lot of contractions I’d used fifteen or sixteen months ago when I was still in the process of revisions on my contemporary.

    Hmmm… more fodder for research on this topic!


  3. Georgiana D permalink
    Friday, February 16, 2007 12:04 am

    I love Meredith’s voice too. Wonderful exercise! I’ll have to try it. Of course my story is in first person so I practically do it all the time, but I’ve never done it as a blog.

    Interesting about the contractions/historicals. Just one of the many reasons I wouldn’t–I mean would not–be able to write one 🙂 I’d mess up the dialogue for sure!


  4. Mary permalink
    Wednesday, February 21, 2007 6:19 pm

    Loved reading that…and can’t wait to read you once you’re published!

    I’m really enjoying your article on voice…and it’s funny that you mentioned, in a different post, how we hear other’s accents but not our own. I was just writing the same thing in a blog post about dialects and how many there are and comparing that to author voice. It’s fascinating, our English language!


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