The Writer’s Voice (2)

In a quotation reproduced below, the widow of the late American writer David Foster Wallace speaks of his growing frustrations with his ‘writer’s voice’. In a seperate comment, we find the writer himself noting how his ‘various verbal habits’ have moved from ‘discovery to tecnique to tic’. How to keep up an authentic voice?

This question has troubled writers for centuries. I recall Franz Ludo telling me of a young Hungarian writer who had ‘lost all faith’ in the relationship between his ‘writer’s voice’ and what he called his ‘inner’ or ‘own’ voice. ‘The poor man had for some time given up writing about issues in which he himself believed,’ claimed Ludo, ‘because he couldn’t trust his writer’s voice to tow the line with his inner voice. The two had gone in seperate directions. His writer’s voice proved perfectly adequate when it came to selling books, but it seemed to bear no relation to what the author was actually feeling‘. Ludo laughed at the memory of this unfortunate figure. ‘To think,’ he grinned, ‘the poor fool actually believed that he had a voice of his own!’

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