Saturday, February 03, 2007

stripped enough


"Dancers are stripped enough onstage. You don't have to know more about them than they've given you already."
Mikhail Baryshnikov




Is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?

I can see how it is, in a way, but isn't being inspired by someone enough to want to be just as individually unique as that person even better?

I have many favorite authors, such as Marilynne Robinson, Hemingway, John Irving, John Jakes, and so on, but when someone asks who my work resembles, I'm at a loss. Nora Roberts comes to mind, but her characters aren't particularly deep. I appreciate the style of the "Johns" ;-) but mine isn't at all like theirs, other than being literary. Marilynne Robinson is someone I aspire to come close to approaching as far as the gorgeous, flowing, lyrical prose that seemlessly blends with her beautiful, flawed characters, but I don't attempt to imitate her style and never expect to have that nearly unattainable quality. She is a true inspiration, and managed to achieve it with her first novel after focusing so long on non-fiction.

Currently reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin, I can see why it's such a classic. The story is so true for so many and the writing is calm and easy. It doesn't have the depth of character that I insist on having in order to call it a favorite, and it's slow enough that it doesn't keep me pulled in except occasionally. That is, of course, a quirk of my own that I am so easily bored and distracted, and others wouldn't agree.

I do have to say I would be flattered if another writer even wanted to imitate my style, but I would rather they didn't. Is that vain? No, it's art. Learning from others is an incredible way to improve, just as the master painters once copied paintings of their predecessors. The ones who stood out, however, were those who took that training and used it to create their own style.
Many authors worry about "finding" their voice. *shrug* Why search for something already inside? It's there; let it flow naturally and that is your voice. It's unique, and that's your hook.
**
I missed last week's entry because I've been furiously working on marketing, to include revamping my website, adding a press kit for bookstores, and coming up with promotional ideas, including a brand new animated banner for fans to use on their myspace pages or elsewhere. There will also soon be freebies on my site.
One thing I am excited about is the addition of "A Conversation With A Musician" that is now up and running. The first interview is posted: Johnny Roxx. Johnny has been featured in several major music magazines. Check out his interview!

The plan is to have a new musician/band each month, all indies (although they may have been signed earlier), and to extend it to other types of indie artists. If you know an indie artist with an established record who would consent to an interview, let me know. I have several in mind, but will take suggestions.

Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow, and I'm quite happy about that. On toward spring....

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