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“… what you can learn is the craft of writing. The art comes from inside you.”

Loved this line … and the whole entry. It came from an article / blog entry by Guest Blogger JR Parsons in the Rachelle Gardner blog.  Written about writing. About a persons Voice.

Several months ago, during Script Frenzy … which is not to be held again … there was one helpful article by Julie Grey which listed five things a writer of Scripts should have.

              • A unique premise
              • Effing Entertaining pages
              • Voice
              • Voice
              • Voice

After I started my Happy Holly Project blog, I discovered the Gretchen Rubin Happiness Project info.

When I blogged about it, I got many, many somewhat panicky messages to NOT read the book … lest it change the Voice I had naturally.

So, this morning as I was reading the blog article and feeling happy about it all, I started to think “Have I always had a voice? Or is this something new?”

And my mind carried me to a time long past, in elementary school, when I had been given a wonderful gift.

A Printing Press.

Calling it a Printing Press is probably stretching it a bit, but the premise was the same.

There was a metal contraption with a drum and a hand crank … the press … and several metal letter holders.

(Why do I keep typing “mental” instead of “metal”? note to self: think about this later)

The idea was to take the teeny tiny rubber letters and position them in the teeny tiny metal trays. Then you lined up all the teeny tiny metal trays on the drum, added ink, and ran teeny tiny scraps of paper through the contraption / press using the teeny tiny crank.

I was in heaven.

But I needed something to write about. What better than the budding third grade romance between Alvin Somethingoranother and Diane Whatever. Actually I do remember their names, but I’m thinking they might not want to remember this particular notoriety.

So I dutifully lined up little metal trays full of letters spelling out “Alvin Bbbbb Loves Diane Hhhhhh.” And ran off lots of little pieces of paper with the news of the day on it.

And proudly took them to school and handed them out to all my little classmates. After all, what else does a budding tabloid journalist do? But this was far in advance of tabloid journalism.

The teacher was not amused.

Neither were my parents when they were called into school to discuss the matter at hand. Back then they had something called cloakrooms. Long hall-like rooms in which we hung our coats and whatnot.

I hid in the cloakroom while they talked.

It was said that although they appreciated my creativity, it should probably be confined to the reports I wrote for class in the form of poems … complete with drawing.

It remains the only time I ever got into trouble in school.

Ever.

Yes I was that timid.

Years later when my parents went to a school Open House they asked about me.

“We are Holly’s parents. How is she doing?” they asked.

“Oh, Holly? The quiet girl who sits in the third row and never says anything?” the teacher replied.

“No, Holly is lively and friendly and active.” they said. “You must be thinking of another Holly.”

No. He wasn’t. I was that quiet. No voice.

At least not that anyone heard.

Back to this morning. I then remembered how, in Junior High, my friend Kathy and I would write stories back and forth … and little cartoon-like tabloids. Again with the tabloids. We were ahead of our time.

Flash forward to current times. And the heartbreak of last year. And my efforts to work through it all. And once more I turned to writing.

This time it was in the form of nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month – in which you write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

I did.

Several people in a few days had said to me “You really should write a book.” And the time was right. So of course I wrote a wonderfully crafted work in which a wonderful fifty-something woman is left broken-hearted by the evil man from … well, you get the idea.

It was cathartic.

And more than that, it was me … writing … every day … for a month.

I liked it.

And when the month came to an end, I switched to a private diary. Which I typed into every day. This writing thing was getting almost addictive. And I enjoyed it. But I didn’t think of it as a Voice. I thought of it as therapy. Working through whatever I had to work through.

Several months ago I heard there was a need for announcers at NPR’s station nearby. And as those of you who read here know, I am doing that for the first time in my life. Another instance of others telling me all my life I had a Voice … in this case for the Radio. And I finally acted on it. But I didn’t think of that as a Voice either.

Back at the end of June, I was encouraged by My Friend Ann to start this Happy Holly Project. And to write. But I didn’t think of that as a Voice at first either.

As a matter of fact, in looking up correct links for this blog I came across the words Strunk and White. Never have heard of them until this very second. I am thinking that, despite suggestions to the contrary, I shouldn’t give up the day job.

But I am tempted.

Turns out I have a voice.

Who knew?

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