Sunday, July 15, 2012
Getting a Voice
Voice is often elusive to children. They hear incredible example of it in the books read aloud to them and read wonderful examples in their independent reading, yet when it comes to writing, voice is a difficult concept to master.
Voice was dominant as Chris Crutcher read one of his "old" pieces to a group of MFA students at Hamline University this afternoon, and I wished I could have recorded it for my colleagues to hear. The narrator was a large teenager named Angus whose double sets of homosexual parents provide fodder for teasing by the boy's classmates. Add in his size and clumsiness, and the poor boy would seem to be constantly discouraged. Instead, he is spurred by his grandfather's admonition disregard the opinions and disdain. When he is voted Snow Ball King, Angus knows full well it is the senior class's idea of a joke, but he considers himself fortunate to have the girl of his dreams as the queen.
As I listened to Mr. Crutcher read his story, I occasionally glanced around the room at the faces watching his. Every person was rapt with attention at interest. We laughed often at Angus's insights about the world and his ways of tactfully dealing with uncomfortable situations. His voice made him real to me.