Discover Your Writer’s Voice

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I attended a writer’s workshop, and it altered the way I see myself as a writer when it comes voice. Don’t you love when that happens? I had the opportunity to sit under Professor Balcarcel, who reminded writers how complicated and elusive it is to find your unique voice. What makes it complicated and elusive is there isn’t a clear, concrete definition of what voice is. So, if we cannot narrow it down to a condensed explanation, how do we learn to do it? Well, there is hope. Professor Balcarcel explained how certain aspects of voice assist us in discovering our own. First, let’s explore what voice is not.

Voice is not taking another author’s style and attempting to make it your own.

I am guilty of this. She reminded us voice has nothing to do with how you can break or butcher the rules of grammar and sentence structure. Guilty as charged. Professor Barcarcel did provide focus on the genetic makeup of voice.

First, your unique makeup is key to finding your voice.

In other words, your values, your beliefs, your goals are fingerprints to your voice. This uniqueness happens when you focus on yourself, your values, your goals, your character traits. If you are a spiritual person, there should be aspects of your writing that reflect such.

Secondly, she attempts to define voice as this, “your voice is the combinations of words and word choices you bring that no one else would think of.”

For the scholarly writers, syntax and diction are what creates voice. It means staying away from clique sentence stems and generic language we often see in writing. For example, “she stared with troubles eyes” or “he raised a brow,” or “her lips curled into a smirk.”She recommended incorporating traits in your writing which reflect what you are aspiring to. For me, that means creativity in word choice. I want to be bold when it comes to diction. If that means making a fool of myself sometimes, so be it. In addition, I aspire to add the trait of not giving a damn… not caring in my writing. I’m still working on that.

Lastly, your voice cannot be duplicated, and you must step out of your comfort zone to discover it.

You create your character’s voice the same way. You incorporate their background, their genetic makeup, their age, etc. It takes practice to find your voice and that of your characters.

To find your own voice, you have to go past imitations

Professor Balcarcel asked us to describe the night sky using the voice of a child. Here is mine.
“It is a big black thing with a whole bunch of little nightlights, and it has real big nightlight too. How come its so dark with so many nightlights?
Then, describe the night sky using the voice of an artist.
“There it is, blanketing my happiness with dark. Still, specs of it seep through, painting my life like a canvas.”

Lastly, describe the night sky using our own voice…
“It’s beautiful, comforting and opposite of what I’ve been taught. I’m supposed to be scared of it. I’m expected to pull the covers over my head and think myself safe. Yet, I stare it down with a crescent smile. The stars, they remind me that I can still myself in darkness.

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So, I challenge my fellow writers to discover your voice by stepping out of your comfort zone, ridding yourself of outer influences, and mediocre redundancies. Put your true self in your writing and make it original. Make it epic.
Start now, describe the sky using your own unique voice and post your entries below. Until next time….

 

Ebby LeBlanc

The Bittersweet Dream of Dr. King

 

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It’s Martin Luther King Day. Cities around the nation will have annual parades and celebratory gestures in honor of the man, who had a specific dream.

However, this M.L.K day feels quite different from the previous ones.

Here’s why, President Obama, our first black president gave a farewell speech last Tuesday. It was a beautiful farewell to a standup man, met with hostility and disapproval simply because he is black.

Despite his credentials, clean record, poise as a leader, some could not accept a black man being a leader, being president. After all, history made its best attempt to ensure it wouldn’t happen.

Too soon, a man will take office, who is making it his point to erase President Obama’s legacy and Dr. King’s dream. Not only that, he is stripping all diversity and reverting to a government where the representation in the White House is rich, white men.

He has purposely appointed people, who are known for their Alt-Right views, moving us further away from the Dr. King dream.

The slogan itself, “Make America Great Again,” a slap in the face and racism at its best. After all, when has America ever been great for anyone other than people like him.

Like many, I am left perplexed at how that man is our next president. I am insulted at how anyone can support such immortality, making excuses for his shortcomings and ridiculing people like Meryl Streep for calling him out on his… stuff.

Every time we fight for justice, fight for equal rights, there is resistance.

What is wrong with everyone being treated with respect and being “judged by the content of their character?” It is saddening how many do not realize what side they are truly on.

When you support people like Trump, you ARE choosing the side of the oppressor.

Many are fearful of what is to come. My peace is knowing, despite how it appears, God is still in control. He saw this coming; it was in the plans. Now, we must wait and see. Much will be revealed through this presidency. My hope, unity will come in the most unlikely way. After all, M.L.K day and our first black president are proof our country is capable of moving toward equality.

Ebby Leblanc

 

 

 

Maybe We Should Thank Trump…

I know I’m not alone when I say, the results of the election took me by surprise. I believe it took Trump supporters by surprise as well. My emotions are in disarray attempting to fathom how this…. man has countless supporters. Even more, many I call friends. For my own sanity, I’ve derived at the conclusion that my friends are just plain die-hard Republicans no matter who is on the ballot… yeah, moving on.

I woke up to Newsfeeds and Facebook post of celebration and my stomach literally wanted to expel last’s night dinner. It pains me deeply that a man could be as reckless with his words/actions, be endorsed by David Duke, boastfully degrade women, have rape charges of a thirteen year old girl filed against him (which I am certain will manage to be buried under somebody’s rug in the coming months), publicly mocked a disabled journalist, degraded Mexican people openly. He has referred to various Nationalities and groups of people as, “the” blacks “the” Hispanics “the” Muslims; as well as, paid for a public ad that sought the death penalty for five innocent black teenagers accused of rape, who were all later exonerated. The list goes on and on; yet, this man still managed to win the most powerful position in the United States of America. Mind-blowing! After all, I thought we were moving forward with equality, women’s rights and so forth. Obviously, I couldn’t be more wrong.

After all, I thought we were moving forward with equality, women’s rights and so forth. Obviously, I couldn’t be more wrong.

Once my stomach settled…slightly and somehow, my optimistic self-returned, I had an epiphany. I actually want to thank Trump. Hear me out. For the last eight years, I thought I was crazy. Here we have a black man and a politician with absolutely no “dirt” on his name or scandals to denounce his character run for office. He wins the presidency for two terms… TWO! Yet, I’ve felt the pangs of racism more than ever. I have heard comments and witnessed actions that were both troubling and appalling in the streets, on my job, and even at my church. I have lived the last eight years of people attempting to convince me racism is all in my head or that I’m stirring up divisiveness with my own skewed perceptions of police brutality, unfair treatment, and alarming numbers of incarcerated black men for petty crimes. Trump, thank you for proving I’m not crazy.

I have lived the last eight years of people attempting to convince me racism is all in my head or that I’m stirring up divisiveness with my own skewed perceptions of police brutality, unfair treatment, and alarming numbers of incarcerated black men for petty crimes. Trump, thank you for proving I’m not crazy.

Thank you for exposing that America remains a country full of racist, bigots, sexist, misogynic, ignorant and hatred-filled people. Your run for the presidency enabled the “liquid courage” needed. It provided the confidence to be boastful and apologetically wear a t-shirt at the polls that literally say, “put white back in the White House.” It saddens me, angers me and renders me slightly hopeless in my country, “America the free, home of the brave” where a man can joke about grabbing a woman’s “pussy” and win the presidency by a country mile. It is mystifying that a presidential candidate in 2016 has a slogan that renders, “make America great again,” in a country with a long history of oppression of others (people who aren’t rich white men).  I’m thinking he forgot about invading someone else’s land where Native Americans were just about dissipated and don’t get me started on that damn pipeline, which I’m certain he will not intervene in. Perhaps, slavery slipped his mind. The Civil Rights movement? What about women not being able to vote? I’m guessing all those aspects of American history lapsed his memory while he was playing golf on his million dollar golf course, or is it billion?

Nevertheless, another potential positive was realized, just maybe Trump did something good.

Nevertheless, another potential positive was realized… just, maybe, Trump did something good.He made it possible for a non-politician to win the presidency. In addition, he opened the door to the idea that your past can no longer disqualify you for Commander-in-chief. Okay, I’m not so sure that’s a positive. However, look at this way, it may not look like it now, but this is a game-changer.Hopefully, this will shake up Washington, which needed a shaking up after the trash of the two candidates to choose from.

Hopefully, this will shake up Washington, which needed a shaking up after the trash of the two candidates to choose from.

Now, I’m not naive to believe he is the first racist, misogynic president we’ve had, but he is by far the most honest about it. Perhaps, this is a step in a direction where it possible to have quality candidates and not repeat the travesty of election 2016. Let’s be hopefully America. I know it’s hard, but right now, optimism is all we’ve got. Optimism and a former playboy model in the White House. Either way, I believe the ultimate ruler of this Nation is God and He will forever remain in control of it all. God. Bless. America!

-Ebby LeBlanc

Dear Someone, Dear No one

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Dear Someone, who cried out when Kaepernick didn’t stand for the anthem but remain mute about the 13 black people unjustly  killed by police since his protest
Dear No one, who believe that an armed trained individual has a right to fear for their life, but a black unarmed man, who has his hands up and is still being killed does not.
Dear Someone, who shouted #backtheblue, posted police shields as their profile pictures but didn’t utter a word about the black men killed unjustly that same week.
Dear No one.… your silence speaks louder than your spoken words and I hear you, they hear, we all hear. Just know this, You.are.part.of.the.problem

Sincerely,

A scared black woman who fears for the lives of her husband, father, brothers, son and black students