Saturday, October 25, 2008

Distinctive Expression

One of the many things writers can struggle with is finding their voice. It's not only limited to authors, either. Any creative expression should have the distinctive tone of the artist. When you look at a painting of one of the great masters you can say, That's Degas, or I would know the bold colors and strokes of Matisse anywhere. Van Goh, Dali, Picasso, Da Vinci, they all conjure up an image distinctly their own.

Music, too, has a signature declaration. You don't even need to go to the masters. When you listen to your local radio station, you can identify the songs you know, and categorize them in your mind by their particular nuances.

Writing is like that too. I'm still searching out a voice that I'm comfortable with. I'm changeable. I don't do things the same way twice very often. My friend, Jackie would say it's because I'm a Gemini. I'd say A.D.D. probably plays more of a role, but who's to say. Maybe all Gemini's are A.D.D., and we're both right. (There's a question to get a research grant for if ever I heard one.)

For years, I've been fascinated by the art of Robert and Shana Parkeharrison. Their intricate photographs are the true meaning of the expression a picture is worth a thousand words. Their visual environmental allegories stop you in your tracks.

I first was introduced to their work in 2004 when they were featured on a PBS program called Art Close Up. Here is how the producers of that program explained the Parkeharrison's work.
Art Close Up delves into the complex and evocative imaginary world of photographers Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. The ParkeHarrisons use extensive research, elaborate props, multiple negatives, and antiquated photographic processes to fabricate an otherworldly narrative featuring Robert as an unnamed 'everyman.' Against seemingly insurmountable odds, Robert's character takes on Herculean struggles set in barren natural landscapes scarred by technology. For information on the work of Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, visit

The program showcased my favorite gallery of their work, entitled Architect's Brother, which you can view along with their more recent works at their website. (A good sampling of Architect's Brother is also here at this website which I recommend going to first.)
In this selection of pictures, they use an antique camera, and take several shots, overlaying the negatives to create a collage that fits together seamlessly to produce a haunting image of a world that could be.

So focused a vision of what you wish to represent is a fleetingly elusive target for me. Changeable. Unfocused. Wavering. Those are words that more aptly describe my writing at this point.

So the search within continues. What do I sound like? Is it okay to be someone different every hour of the day?

For a variety of reasons, my writing is going slowly. I'm finding, that when I go back and read earlier parts, the tone and feel of the story is different than where I am now. I hope it's because I'm more confident in my writing than I was before, but it could be anything.

We'll see as I go on, and if I ever actually publish anything how my voice develops. For now, I'll admire the voice and vision of others.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I've been doing this long enough now that my voice is pretty strong and consistent, and I can recognize elements of it. But I STILL start sounding like Nora Roberts if I try to write while I read one of her JD Robb books!

Ava Quinn said...

Hee! Thanks. Good to know I'm not alone in at least some small way!

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