Who Do I Sound Like?

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I just read over today's entry, and realize that I don't sound a thing like myself, instead I sound like the journaller whom I was reading directly before writing the entry.

And the question is, can you guess who?

-- Kymm Zuckert (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), July 26, 2000


And the other question is, do you do that? Pick up other people's styles and only realize it later?

-- Kymm Zuckert (hedgehog@hedgehog.net), July 27, 2000.

Well, I know it wasn't me because you updated before I did. But your house sounds like mine. In fact, I think you cribbed that description from one of my old entries, you bad plagiarizing lady, you. There couldn't possibly be two people as messy as I am.

-- Beth (beth@xeney.com), July 26, 2000.

O please, I have been to your house, and you couldn't be as messy as I am if you tried for the rest of your life. All I remember is looking around at a slightly cluttered expanse of cleanliness, hearing you apologize for the mess and feeling as though you were speaking in a foreign tongue. "Where is this mess of which she speaks? Ah, perhaps in Sacremento, 'mess' means one cat hair on the floor."

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), July 26, 2000.

If it weren't for the fact that I refuse to have people in my house when it's a mess, I'd invite both of you over to see what a truly messy house looks like. I'm not talking cluttered. I'm talking a mess of epic proportions. Though it's not as bad as it was this time last month. I actually had it really clean for all of two days.

Tomorrow I must clean again, since my sister will be feeding my kitties while I'm in San Diego this weekend.

Kymm, I have no idea who you sound like in today's entry. I mean, you sounded like you to me, but perhaps there are some nuances that I've missed.

-- Carol (webgal@ordinarygoddess.com), July 26, 2000.

You sounded like you, but I can see some of the different sentence structures from your usual pattern. Not that this helps me recognize the mystery journaller, but heck, I'llg give it a whack. Were you reading Patrick before you posted?

-- Saundra (headspace@anywherebeyond.com), July 26, 2000.

I once read a masters thesis that said head-bangers tended to rock at a certain frequency, and if you played a Victrola around them at a different tempo, they'd gradually rock in sync with the noise.

Some writers don't read other writers when they are working on a book, because the influence tends to creep in, willy-nilly.

Other writers, when at a loss for what to write, blocked, down, and so forth, will read things to perk them up, inspire them, get the flow going again.

I usually write prose, and when I write poetry, I tend to write not a poem or two, but a book's worth of poems, before I switch back to prose.

Emerson said it wasn't meter that made a poem, but "the metre-making argument."

Sometimes, in the middle of a prose work, I will read a book of poems, and end the book writing poetry.

-- Jack Saunders (jacksaunders@mindspring.com), July 27, 2000.

i pick up other peoples accents. I have a very strange one, although i've lived all my life on long island, i sound like my grandmother, who was from indianna. people who aren't from long island usually recognize me as a long islander, but anyone who is from long island is always asking me where i come from. and after i'm around someone with an accent from another area, i start picking that up. i have a very dear friend from the south, and if we're on the phone, my voice starts slowing down and drawing out...

and there is NO ONE as messy as i am...

-- nicole (nicolemrw@go.com), July 27, 2000.

The other question.

If Beth has been a coy self-deprecating housekeeper up until now, her two dogs will take care of that. You wouldnt want to visit her a few weeks from now. Puppies conspire to make human homes uninhabitable. Trust me, I have three dogs and the carpet gets up to growl and slobber when you walk in.

Im the Raymond Carver or Richard Ford or Anne Carson of bad writing. I dont plagiarise, I unconsciously parody and render trite. I write letters and catch myself echoing and exaggerating passages from really good fiction writers or poets in banal sentiments. I spent six months years ago getting Joan Didions pithy gloom out of my birthday card greetings. There must be a diagnostic term for this.

-- Mary (ulamary@yahoo.com), July 27, 2000.

Who did Kymm sound like? I dunno, someone who drops the subject from their sentences. "Did this. Did that." Top guesses would be Ceej, Bridget Jones, and Pamie's cat Cal.

-- Diana (diana@alum.mit.edu), July 27, 2000.

I noticed that some of the expressions and contractions were a little different than usual.

Geez, that makes it sound more like childbirth than journal writing. (I will refrain from making a joke about how Kymm's style seemed unusually labored.

I don't know whose voice it was except that it wasn't mine. I'm not even sure this posting is mine, at this point. I certainly don't make dumb comments about writing being like childbirth.

-- Jette (jette@rootaction.net), July 27, 2000.

To answer the supplemental question, I can't talk to a person with a thick accent for more than two sentences before I pick it up myself. I live in terror that some southerner will think I'm making fun of her because I start saying "ya'll" and dropping the final g's in my gerunds, or that my Japanese waiter will be offended that I start yelling "HEI!" right back at him instead of "Yes, please."

Same goes for my writing, but at least it keeps me from reading too much garbage. Andrew Neiderman can blow my style for days.

-- Kim Rollins (kimrollins@yahoo.com), July 27, 2000.

Being surrounded by accents that are not my own, I'm hyper aware of picking up the smallest changes in mine. The Australian accent tends to pick up the worst of the US accent, and sounds fugly as a result (see Greg Norman, for an example). I don't hard my R's, unless I'm trying to get someone to understand me, and then my face is so screwed up with the effort, it's more a rictus than an actual accent. I listen to how the local pronounciation sounds with my accent, and if I like it, I keep it, if I don't, I keep my own.

In Australia, though, I was dreadfully prone to picking up accents. Stayed in a hostel in Sydney for a couple of weeks, and I was the only local there, the rest were all European, with large chunks of Irish. Didn't take the first day and I was all "Did you not think you'd want to do this?". Not to mention my friend Dirk, Dutch parents, extraordinarily gifted in the Scandanvian languages (which explains why I am the proud possessor of a Swedish to English Dictionary and an Icelandic to English Dictionary), who noticed after we shared a house in Canberra for a month that while I wasn't picking up the scandanvian slang, it was odd that my sentence construction was getting.

When I have my "own" accent surrounding me and within cooee of referring back to, it's easy to slide into someone else's way, but when I'm far from most who sound like me, I try to keep what's mine, or at least only adopt that which I would were I to hear it there and adopt.

-- Amanda Page (amanda@amandasprecipice.com), July 28, 2000.

I am from California, and my boyfriend is from Alabama and various other places in the South. Within 3 months of knowing him (we met over the internet, so this was mostly from phone conversations), I started to pick up on things he said - phrases and certain words. Within 6 months, I noticed that when I talked to him, I was starting to sound like him! Now that we've known eachother for about a year, and he's living with me, I'm sounding even more like him! I'm really picking up on his accent, without even trying! I kinda like, it, though. I always did love Southern accents.

And for the record, I'm a slob. But I'm not really one of those slobs who only cleans for company. Instead, I am one of those slobs who just doesn't invite anyone over.

-- Lauren (thecutestone@hotmail.com), July 28, 2000.

And the answer to the question who was I accidentally imitating on Wednesday is...


I wouldn't call anything syphilitic on my own!

-- Kymm Zuckert (kymmz1@yahoo.com), July 28, 2000.

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