Posts Tagged ‘authentic voice’

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts



What is voice in digital writing? We know it when we see it, but it’s difficult to define. In one sense, everyone has a voice, right? So shouldn’t every piece of writing have a voice?

However, we’ve all read things that touch us in a certain way. We feel like the writer is speaking right into our ears. The writer is with us all along the way.

Yesterday I had the privilege to see many wonderful authors at the Mississippi Book Festival in my home town of Jackson, MS. I’ll write more about this great day later this week. Kate DiCamillo told me (yes, me because I got up the courage to ask her a question.) that the voice of the narrator in The Tale of Despereaux carried her through the writing of the novel, and this voice carries the reader through as well.

Voice is elusive and difficult to teach. Actually, I don’t think voice can be taught. Voice needs to be discovered. My students discover voice by writing a Slice of Life every week. By writing about something personal, their personalities appear on the page. They post their Slices on our class blog at Kidblog. (Click here if you would like to follow our blog.)

This week we only had a few days together because of the extensive rain and flooding in our area. When we met on Wednesday, my kiddos were full of stories about the flooding. Jacob’s house was flooded, and he was excited that he could write about it. He wrote three and a half pages in his notebook. Others went directly to the blog to write.

Lynzee’s voice comes through in her poem.

Fearsome Flood

Half the yard gone,
Bayou is swollen,
Stranded in the house,
Some in shelters,
People afraid
Of the
Fearsome flood

And Tobie is, well, always Tobie on the page.

When my sister and I were getting dressed, we turned on the news as always, but this time, there were no commercials, no GMA, only local news. We watched a bit, getting dressed, when all of a sudden, it smacked us right in the face. We dropped dead, got buried, and stayed there until we rose as zombies. Okay, maybe I exaggerated, but we were pretty shocked. By the fact that… “Iberia Parish schools are closed,” said Dave Baker. I asked my mom what that meant, but on the inside, I knew. NO SCHOOL!! But that is bad because, well, it must be pretty bad to cancel school. For like, 4 days.

Digital writing makes an unique voice more possible. Daily blogging allows students to discover their own voices and to share that voice with others. My students are having conversations with each other. I am not the only one they are writing for. An authentic audience offers my writers a reason to write and a pathway for discovery.

Please join the conversation by posting a link to your unique voice, your own blog. Tweet at #DigiLitSunday. Google+ community here.

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Poetry Friday round up with Catherine at Reading to the Core.

Poetry Friday round up with Catherine at Reading to the Core.

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A poem gift to me from Diane Mayr begins with “Your songs are a tribute to those who/ share the neighborhood with you, but are these the songs of your heart?” These words struck a chord with me. We are singing, all of us, but are we singing the truth? Authenticity in any vocation is important, but especially true in writing. I tell my students, “I want to hear your voice when I read your writing.”

Does your voice resonate with the songs you sing?

Diane’s poem reminds us to sing about it all, the good and the bad. I want to thank my readers, my community of friends for your words of support through my sad song. I feel the love. And thanks to Diane for this special gift. I think this one will go in a frame.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Today I am celebrating comments. I am admitting how important comments are to me. They drive me to write more. They give me confidence. Comments are like attention from a close friend; they wrap me up in warmth.

Every Friday of Kate Messner’s Teachers Write Camp, Gae Polisner hosts a Friday Feedback on her site with a guest author each week. A week ago, the guest was Avi. Yes, the one and only. If you are steeped into the kidlit world of middle grade books, you know Avi well for books like Crispin and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and many more. I was a bit star struck when I saw this and hesitated to post anything, but I got my courage up and posted this little piece of Sunshine, the sequel to Blessen.

On the porch hidden by the screen door, I think I see a child. All I can see are eyes, big and round like white marbles, staring out at me. Still, I am startled by the voice.

“Hi, there! Whatcha’ doin? Swinging?”

A little black girl swirls off the porch and flies like a raven to my side. She wears a tattered pink dress that’s too short for her long skinny legs. Her hair is plaited in braids close to her scalp. Her skin is as dark as a moonless night. She runs around me and pushes me forward on the rope.

I swing higher and squeal. Holding tighter to the rope, I ask the girl, “Who are you? Where did you come from?”

“My name is Harmony, Harmony, Harmony.” Harmony sings her name higher and higher on the scale. “Who are you, you, you?”

Holding tightly to the thick rope, I unwrap my legs and stand.

“I’m Blessen. I live right there in that double-wide with my momma, Miss Gardenia LaFleur. Are you living here now?”

“Oh, well, it’s all just temporary. We’ll see, we’ll see. Will you swing me high?”

And from Avi, “Dear Margaret,
Not much to add, because this seems to work as is. Good job!. I assume there is more, and would like to read.”

And this week from Gae herself, “Margaret, I’d offer constructive criticism if I had it. But your writing is really stellar and compelling. Just beautiful. Keep going!”

How can I not keep going with support like this from successful authors like Avi and Gae. A huge THANKS to Kate Messner and Gae Polisner and all the other amazing authors who are devoting their time and energy to nurturing struggling teacher-writers like me.

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I am trying to trust my authentic voice. Comments strengthen this voice and make me feel worthy! Totally selfish and totally true!

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