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Weekly Writing Challenge: Can You Hear That? That’s My Blogging Voice

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Cha...
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t always been a reader. Sorry Mom, it’s true. She likes to tell people that I’ve always loved to read. You remember that summer you made us read every day for an hour? I read Treasure Island. I hated it, with a passion. That was one hour a day that I could have been playing video games, watching TV, or playing outside. That was always the worst hour of my life, but somehow, I grew to love reading anyway.

Most of the reading I did in high school consisted of books that were assigned to us. I didn’t much like these books, at the time, but I’ve gone back to re-read them again and I can appreciate every single one of them. These include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Fahrenheit 451, Great Expectations,  Adventures of Huckleberry Fin plus many, many more. In between all of these great novels and authors I was able to fit in some recreational reading also.

Some of my favorite authors from my high school years included Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Anything they put out I tried to get my hands on. If I would have started this blog a year or so before I did, I’m sure I would’ve been able to say that they both influenced my writing. I can’t say that though, because their styles and individual voices aren’t very similar to mine. Aside from the language one can find (I really don’t cuss, promise, not an act) I’m not a Californian or a New Englander. I don’t talk that way, but there is something I do take away from King. I try to write how I talk. There’s someone who does it better than these guys, and his writing even sounds a lot like me.

Grisham Speaks to Keenum Leadership Forum
Grisham Speaks to Keenum Leadership Forum (Photo credit: msulibrary1) He even kinda looks like Spacey

One of the easiest authors for me to read, back then, was John Grisham. Born in Jonesboro, Arkansas Grisham is from my neck of the woods. Now, I can’t speak much about lawyers, judges, plantations or death row. But I do know something about southern hospitality, drinking, and down home cookin. Has anyone seen the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? When I think about Grisham this movie comes to mind. I can picture Grisham playing the role that Kevin Spacey did, other than the shooting people thing, of course. The first novel of his I read was The Client. A story about a boy and his brother, who become witnesses to a suicide/murder. This one had me hooked automatically. He was a voice of the South, in my mind.

English: Complete collection of John Grisham's...
English: Complete collection of John Grisham’s novels (as of January 2010) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Others that I enjoyed included The Firm, The Chamber, The Runaway Jury, and my favorite, A Time to Kill, which happens to be his first published work. All great, Southern novels. Later on he wasn’t just the voice of the South. His voice extended to all types of people with titles like Bleachers, Skipping Christmas, Playing for Pizza and his latest Calico Joe. Grisham causes me to be comfortable with speaking my southern drawl, in real life or on paper. I’m not afraid to write like I talk. I mean, how else am I supposed to do it? Thank you John. Ain’t nuthin better than readin, specially when you’re behind the words.

12 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: Can You Hear That? That’s My Blogging Voice

  1. Dang, you certainly have a long list of books under your belt. Although I’ve read quite a few of these, I don’t think I would be able to summarize them or even talk about the plot. I guess the classics never resonated with me. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I actually enjoyed reading, and I’d been FORCED TO READ so many books I found uninteresting in school — that I went crazy when I realized there could be stories about things that actually sparked my imagination.

    1. Yes, it’s definitely easier to appreciate some of these novel when not forced to read them. Not to show off or anything, I have to say that this is only a small portion of my library. Dan Brown, Harry Potter, Septimus Heap….all good stuff. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Well…at this very moment in time…I am forcing my freshman English students to read Treasure Island…If only I had read this blog first…Curse my computer’s nonmetal body for not uploading this blog post fast enough.

  3. What would I do differently?…I think I would have dressed up like Long John Silver the first day of school, talked like a pirate, and convincd those freshman that this was the best book they’ll ever read… Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow…Craziest Teacher of the Year…nailed it!

    1. Crazy Teacher does not equal good book, but nice try. I should probably go back and read it again. I was only about ten when I read it the first time. It’s probably really good, but I never gave it a chance.

  4. Dude, it is so good. Robert Louis Stevenson was the first author to romanticize the life of a pirate. Without him we arguably would never have gotten The Pirates of the Caribbean quadrilogy. He invented the Black Spot. That’s right, it is a fictional pirate dooming device conceived by a little British boy.

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