I learnt an awful lot at the Press Publish Conference in Portland on the weekend. I am going to share as much as I can with you over the next week. As usual these things will weave themselves in and out of the fabric of our farmy pages. Much like this post. (And first I would like to thank you for the incredible comments on the Portland Page. Those comments underline once again what a wonderful collective we are – a team of goodness and care. The Fellowship).
This morning though I need to answer a question that a girl asked of the Publishing Panel on Saturday afternoon at the Press Publish conference.
“How long did it take you to find your voice?” she asked the Panel. Her speaking voice was hesitant. She was a small woman, dove grey, lightly scented. I watched her, she had been taking big breaths to lead up to that question causing a flush in her face. She blinked slowly and swallowed as she handed back the microphone. I knew exactly what to say to her and drawing my own breath I turned for my own microphone but someone else already had it. And the editor speaker spoke and the lovely woman who was a merchant banker spoke and the published authors spoke and then I felt that maybe enough had been spoken. So I hesitated and the moment had gone. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the brightness of the panel. I dimmed and the girl slowly faded back against the wall and I watched her as the questions rolled on and I missed my chance.
I wished I had just taken the microphone and spoken. I had been intimidated and am now haunted by this girl. So here I am back with my own Fellowship Family. I know that this young woman will probably not be reading (though we have many new readers who I hope will introduce themselves in the Join Us page). But here is my answer anyway.
“You have already found your voice. Do not hesitate to use it. Each voice is individual and perfect for who you are and where you are now – to hide it and dress it up until it sounds like every other voice will never work. You have your voice already. You have not lost it and so you do not need to begin a journey to find it. You have the words and the rhythm and the sound track. It is already there changing and moving with your own breath. You just have to put your fingers on the keys and write this moment down.
Here is what I do to keep my writing honest – I write exactly how I speak. In fact I call it Writing Out Loud. I say the words in my head as I bash away at the keys. (It is exactly the opposite of reading when we do not say the words at all – we simply read.) Then, when the words are on the screen, I go back and edit out all the repeats and extraneous words. I fix the spelling and grammar. I chuck out at least half of what I have written. I move stuff about so it is simple and makes sense but that is all. Always reading the sentences aloud in my head. It is a bit like taking a picture then running it through Photo Shop to push the contrast and clarify the edges, bring the colour back in and add a bit of noise. But it is always the picture I took. Write. Your voice is there. Just write as you speak.”
Timatanga Moana and Tane Mahuta were making a lot of noise yesterday afternoon. They are not always beautiful are they. I should have got the tape recorder out for you but it is not a gentle sound by any means. Maybe tomorrow.
Good morning. Chickens take 21 days to hatch. Poppy will take 21 days to come back into heat. Poppy was possibly,( maybe, fingers crossed) bred on March 11. The eggs are in a safe place and should start hatching this weekend. And Poppy is showing no obvious signs of coming back into heat. Yet. I am hanging on Tenterhooks.
I hope you have a lovely day. I hope you use your voices.
Your friend on the farm