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Valentino and emo haircuts.

What is voice, if not authority ?

Ah, the key. The key to success in every possible field.

Voice.

Voice is a concept as wide as your mind can stretch. It is a world on to itself. Pick up a book and read the first page. What incites you to read on ? Voice. Authority. Self-assurance, but never arrogance. No, cockiness is not voice. Bullying is not voice. A great writer will take your hand, pull you in firmly, but respectfully, and reveal his story to you.

Here, this is where you look, the writer says.

I won’t tell you who he is now, but trust me, I will later, he assures.

Don’t read so fast, he punctuates, surely, beautifully, respecting his own pace. The writer is the metronome. The ticktock behind the words.

This translates to various areas. In our own lives, we are the writer. Not the narrator. We do not interpret, we are. Some of us write ourselves into a corner, or repeat the same tedious scene over and over. Because we have lost the authority over our stories. We have lost our rhythm.

Valentino. What does that simple name bring to mind ?

Grace. Class. Romance. Beauty.

I am certain those are the words evoked when Valentino’s brand is mentioned. Everywhere. No matter who is asked. And why ?

Voice.

Is voice branding ? A little. But not quite. Branding is about marketing. Voice is much broader than that. A certain brand created in the fifties: Tide soap for example, may have been very succesful with the ladies back then, but would not go over well in today’s market. On the other hand, Voice is impermeable to time. The Castle of Otranto is and always will be Gothic and romantic. Do Androids dream of electric sheep will remain puzzling and unsettling, just as 1984 still holds all of its original power. Authors today ( if you read blogs on the pub industry ) seem a little obsessed with ‘branding”. They want to find their niche, and I understand the importance of knowing your readership and writing with a specific “ideal” reader in mind, but, let’s not forget that readerships are alive and move, change, evolve. What is in today, may be out tomorrow.

And voice ?

Is Valentino démodé ? Will he ever be ? Will we tire of beauty and grace ? I pray not.

But, it’s safe to say that we will tire of skinny jeans and High top converse shoes.

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About Mel

Montreal queer fiction writer.

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