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This evening I had the privilege to critique a good friend’s new work. And as I read and reread it, as I paused to think about what she was saying, and what I might say about her choice of words, her decision to frame an image just so, it struck me that in just 260 words, her voice is so strong, so distinctive, so her. I realised – or re-remembered – two things. Firstly, that it is as helpful, when writing, to read not only published works with a critical eye, but writing-in-progress that is not one’s own.  (Yes, I am writing again.) And secondly, that what is called ‘voice’ is something so personal, that perhaps it isn’t always possible for the writer to know with any real certainty exactly what her voice is, how it sounds, how it tastes to other readers. I know I don’t. And up until this evening, that worried me. Do I have a distinctive voice, yet? I feared that I didn’t, that I still don’t. But, voice can only come as one continues to write, so I’m getting that bit right, at least. Or trying to. And also, perhaps it is like the thing where you think you know how your physical voice sounds, because you hear it from inside your head every time you speak; and then you hear your voice recorded, you hear it as others hear it, and you don’t recognise yourself. Perhaps that’s it. It’s a theory…

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