Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, or rap out a “damn, girl, you make me sweat?”
Finding the right Voice is a lot like dating. There is an irresistible urge to go for the fantasy, to try something new, bad and bold. It can be the perfect time to re-invent oneself by casting aside the commonplace and embracing adventure, even if it is slightly uncomfortable. As with relationships, it becomes obvious — sometimes immediately and other times it takes a while — that we were not meant to be.
Even though I haven’t dated in decades, I thought my dating strategy might work with finding my soulmate Voice: sample the smorgasbord (aka, hooking up, when translated into 21st century vernacular). There’s plenty of different Voices out there to meet and greet. My first was the overly extroverted, OMG, BFF Voice, who introduced me to a whirlwind of emoticons, exclamation marks, and texting abbreviations. We had a short, but fun fling. I got dumped for being too uptight and not getting it.
After humiliating rejection, it’s only natural to go to the other extreme and I was attracted to the Formal Voice. Respectable, controlled, complete sentences and always properly punctuated. It was short-lived and I got dumped again, but not because I didn’t make merry enough. This time I failed to meet clearly defined expectations. Frankly, that relationship was a slog.
Since then, I’ve flirted with different types — the Flamboyantly Dramatic, the Instructional, the Erudite, the Overly Descriptive Ad Nauseum, the Wickedly Sarcastic, the Ridiculously Metaphored and the Terse Blurber to name a few — but, I am not feeling the magic.
Decades of Hallmark Valentine’s Day sentiments have led me to believe that the Voice, like one’s aptly-matched significant other, should be both a reflection and completion of oneself. But the odds of finding that perfect, blissful match are abhorrently against us because we are not monoliths, but mosaics of all that we find alluring.
I know there may be writers who are comfortable with having a couple Voices on the side to keep things interesting, but I would feel unfaithful. Besides, even a single Voice can be high-maintenance and a lot to juggle.
I am continuing my courtship dance with high hopes, despite the eye-rolling “don’t even” disdain from Voices that see me start my approach. My one, true Voice is out there, probably leaning against a wall, watching with amusement.