Thursday, July 30, 2009
Walk this Way! Imprinting
As promised, here is part 2... One of my earliest friends grew up with a Biology professor for an father. She had some amazing experiences--the 12 foot freshwater fish tank in their living room, a skunk baby with the stinker removed… but I think my favorite is the duck who imprinted to her. At their house was a duck egg, and she watched it hatch, and that duckling proceeded to follow her everywhere… I suppose it isn’t such a stretch that a woman who weighs the same as a duck would imprint like one. It’s an odd skill… this mimic thing… but I do have a tendency to pick up some quirks from whomever I’m reading at the time I’m writing something. It’s not intentional, and I never copy actual contents or characters. But when my Digressionista, Mari, read CONFLUENCE, she observed something. “You know, the way you write some of these relationships reminds me of Amy Tan in the Bonesetter’s Daughter.” Now I haven’t read Bonesetter’s Daughter, but I was reading (slowly, and therefore through large sections of writing) Saving Fish From Drowning as I wrote CONFLUENCE. That isn’t to say I don’t have my own style, because in spite of it, I’ve been told a number of times, that no matter what genre I’m writing, my stories feel uniquely ‘Me’ (significant shortening pains, notwithstanding). So what is this ‘imprinting’ I seem to do? Does everybody do it? I sort of think it is like the way vocabulary creeps into the language of teens. If you hear something a certain way a couple times, it starts to seem like the way it ought to be said. I think my psychology background and people observation passion give me the ME flair (along with a certain playfulness that always comes through in a character or two) but the actual diction, I believe, may just be a function of participating in the human race, and I can’t see that as completely a bad thing.