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Friday, May 29, 2015

A Writer Has But One True Voice

I read the following in a book I'm reading and thought it was important enough to make note of:
 And as for Selling Down the River on the raft with you and Targum, a writer sells out when he agrees to do a bad book; he consummates the bargain when he knowingly lets a bad book slip from his hands. But during the actual writing, there's no such thing as "selling out" or "writing down." A writer has but one voice and he must use it if he is to write, no matter what he is writing. To try to alter that voice for any sustained is as difficult as trying to talk in a falsetto for a month. He may simplify, but that is simplification and not easy to do. He may also embellish with prosy curlicues but that is only obfuscation and the true voice remains beneath the fruity tones. He may revise and rewrite and fill his drawers and trunks and wastebaskets in the process. I prefer to keep my wastebasket empty and fill my wallet, so I publish my little keepsakes.
But make no mistake. They are mine and that is my voice you read. It can't be any other way. The limitations and requirements of the book limit my register and filter my tone like a bad microphone but I'm still using my true voice. So if you didn't like This Flogged Flesh, the chances are you won't like my "real books" either.
(The Man Who Wrote Dirty Books, Hal Dresner, (c) 1964, page 67)