This is a true story.
As previously mentioned, I flew home yesteday from a couple days off. It was one of those perfect, quiet flights home… no crying babies, no talkitive seatmate, no one I knew. So I was able to completely immerse myself into a book for two glorious, blissful hours.
It was a fun, light and digestible story about a city girl being swept away by surprising love and coming to terms with living in the boonies of the prairie. (not the official synopsis) In other words, the complete opposite of my normal kind of reading.
However, having become (thanks to my sister-in-law), a devoted fan of her recipies, I was excited to discover how The Pioneer Woman came to be. Two very enjoyable hours were spent immersed in rural Oklahoma ranch country through her eyes and excellent writing voice.
Riding back to my car the long-term parking lot shuttle bus, I was still internally extracting myself from her world, always the mark of a great story, when the driver asked to verify which vehicle was mine.
The first words out of my mouth since leaving California came out in a southern drawl.
Perhaps I should clarify something real quick. I have never lived in the South. Colorado is as south as I get. I have also lived in Washington, New York City and Montana. But never anywhere that has any sort of twang. Ever.
No one in my ENTIRE extended family is from the South. (We are Scandinavian)
Nor was I coming FROM Texas or Oklahoma. I was in Southern California, ya’ll.
When the driver asked what part of the South I was from, first I was confused, having lost control over my own accent. Then, sheepeshly replied… well, umm, south of Canada….
Aaaaaaaand proceeded to practically run off of that shuttle.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sign of an excellent writer with amazing voice.
Now, I know I have the tendency to get absorbed into whatever I am reading, but for a story to subconsciously bestow an accent upon its unwary reader? That’s both impressive and SUPER embarrassing for me.
Like esteemed fashion houses or artists of renown, the greats always have a strong point of view. A signature style, if you will. Their work is instantly recognizable. And it’s distinctly them.
Excellent writers are no different. They are artists of narratives, crafting masterpieces in words through their personal and specific perspective. They have such an undeniable voice that you find yourself picking up word choices, specific phrases, or perhaps even an accent for a little while.
Moral of the story beyond my increased love for The Pioneer Woman? I am inspired. I am inspired to continue to write and express myself through words, further refining and developing my writing voice.
And maybe, just maybe, someday someone else will find themselves channeling a WA-MT-NY-CO accent for a moment or two.