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Showing posts from February, 2011

Hearing My Own Voice

In writing, as in most things we do, people tend to settle into patterns. We develop habits, both good and bad. The more we write, the more we start to take ownership of the language. There are grammar rules we honor above others (different for each writer, of course) and cringe at the transgressions when we see them in others' work. We form attachments to certain words or phrases and use them time and again in our writing. Yet we also get quirky with language as it becomes a familiar friend. We break rules where we choose and cobble together new words where the old ones just don't seem to fit. These choices become distinctly ours. The style and the rhythm of our words repeats unconsciously in each new story. Though the content may differ, the pattern is familiar. It's the trellis beneath the vines, a comfortable structure for ideas to grow on. Without realizing it, all of these habits gradually develop into a recognizable voice.

In a similar way, most writers …

Free Time

There are fluid properties to free time, whether vacations or their lesser cousins, weekends. You would think it would stay put in its own neat little pile. Here is the time that's mine, you could say. I've carved this piece from the block I share with the world, and it's my time to relax and be free to do what I want to do. It would seem to be the definition: Free Time.

But instead, it seeps out of the corral you've designed. It leaks or ebbs from where you had intended to keep it, and you end up filling that free time with responsibilities and mundane tasks rather than the things you say you'd do if only you had the free time.

This is my twentieth year at my workplace, so I've been allotted more vacation time than ever before. It's so much that I had to plot most of the days at the start of the year, spread out across every month, just so I won't run the risk of realizing I have a whole pile left at the end of the year. Theoretically, I…