Sunday, 12 March 2006

My Little Holbo Voice; or, Tonal Calisthenics II: This Time, It's Un-Caps-Locked With the exception of Saturday's commentorgy I take it people aren't too fond of STRANGE AND UNUSUAL POSTS. I LIKED THE ONE IN WHICH I YELLED. I think there's something to be said about the perception of literary voice and typography in the Internet Age. BUT YOU PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO THINK SO!!! (Don't worry. I still love you.) So let me rewrite last night's post as an examination of tone instead of an experiment in one. My reasons for pursuing this line of inquiry are varied, but they have to do with 1) my current dissertation chapter, 2) some interesting science fiction novels which've occupied the last week or so of Insomnia Theater, 3) the minnesota review article and 4) Don Delillo getting under my skin again. I can't count on you to have read S.W. Mitchell's Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker or Robert Charles Wilson's Spin and don't particularly feel like having the Delillo conversation again. (Michael does.) So I'll be a bad blogger and step into the realm of meta-blogging and ask you what I sound like: I know the tone I intend. I may even know how I create it. Only I don't know whether I'm successful. Or consistent. Or consistently successful. I can't judge its resemblence to my speaking voice either. Do I write like I talk? Do those of you who know me hear my voice in your head when you read my words? Do you do that automatically or do you have to remind yourself who's doing the talking? Or do I have a different voice entirely? (I am a man of many questions today.) What do I sound like? How old do I sound? Younger than I am? Older? More masculine? Less? Dialing down the solipsism: I have a Holbo voice. Everyone who reads him has his or her own. When I was at the MLA hanging out with the man himself, I acquired another Holbo voice, an amalgam of his actual with my imagined one. It persisted for a few weeks after the MLA. My Holbo voice is now the only Holbo voice I have. The other one has disappeared. Is that solely a function of the distinctiveness of his prose style? Or is it some combination of distinctiveness and repeated exposure? (Now you can see the blog angle.) Even stranger though is that when John sends me an email I "hear" a little something of his actual voice—the very one my Holbo voice has smothered—even though some of his emails are flat out Holbonic. What is happening here? Am I the only one that his happens to? Can someone point me to some secondary material which addresses these issues? MUCH OBLIGED IN ADVANCE PARDNERS!!!

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