A few days ago, I read a letter to the editor in my local paper that denigrated Darwin’s theory of evolution. In fact, this writer stated that until ANY theory is proven, it’s false. Scientists of the world, beware! They are alive and breeding. Anyway, I didn’t answer the letter, mainly because the paper wouldn’t have printed it when I called him a poopy-head.
But yesterday, there was a response to the letter. Two paragraphs into the response, I knew exactly who had written it. Randy Farran, a local SF fan/writer/filkmaster/cartoonist. Randy and I have known each other for a long time. He has a wry sense of humor that shows up often in his music. (He wrote a filk, a SF folk song, asking why dragons always want virgins to eat titled “Do Virgins Taste Better?” and it’s a hoot!) He doesn’t have much patience with pretension and prejudice as he shows in his art, but when he is serious about his beliefs, he writes with the same strong voice that he speaks with. That’s how I recognized his letter.
I was thinking about that today and I realized that often I read books based on my mood. All authors have a “voice”. And the better the writer, the stronger the voice until you can read a section of their work and pretty well guess who has written that piece. It’s not unusually for me to start a book by a favorite author and, a few pages along, realize I’m not in the “mood” to read that author. It’s not because you won’t like the story or you doubt the author will meet your expectations, but rather it’s because you may not be in the mood to read a book you know will be humorous or tender or angry.
I also know that sometimes my mood can affect what I write. If I’m aggravated with how my life is going at a particular time, there is no way I can write a light-hearted scene. Or if I’m tired, writing a suspenseful moment may be torture. Does that stop me? No, but later when I re-read what I’ve written, I ask myself “What were thinkin’, girl?” I’ve discovered that sometimes working on something that matches my mood is the answer. Or if I really NEED to work on a particular something that is counter-indicated by my mood, music will help change my mood.
Of course, eating chocolate and taking a nap helps, too!