IN OTHER WORDS | All About That Alto

When I was in Junior High, I was in choir. I was a soprano because I was on the cusp between alto and soprano, so the teacher put me with the high notes. I think he needed more sopranos. I could do it, but keeping those high notes was not easy. So sometimes I just stayed quiet.

That is not in my nature. I like to be heard.

Today, decades later, I’m a solid alto. And, yes I’m all about that metaphor. This is about my writing voice, my novel writing and my blogging. It’s also about my personal voice, and about who I am as a person. They are connected. Any artist will tell you. The soprano is lovely, lilting and gently beautiful. But, it is not a fit for me. I feel too big for that soft space. I want to sing it deep and loud. I can’t do that while trying to hold those high notes.

A person’s voice changes over time. I also know that without formal voice training, good luck with consistency. I was in a rock band in high school and we just had fun. We had a pretty good formula. We picked songs we liked that worked in my range.

But when it comes to writing, and to most things that have to do with my voice, I don’t sugar-coat, I don’t do rose petals, and I don’t have a “range.” I’m direct and I’m blunt. Sometimes I say it with humor. Sometimes I say it with honesty and raw emotion and, other times, I am brash or even angry. However I do it, it’s distinct.

When I wrote my novel, I wrote it in third person. That was ten years ago. Those who know me, when they read it, asked, “Is the main character you? I can hear you in her voice.” My answer: “She’s not me, but there is me in her.” I took the question as a compliment; that my voice is strong and comes through in my writing. They went on to say that this was not a distraction, but an endearment. Of course, people who read the novel and don’t know me just read about a strong female with a sense of humor who drops the f-bomb. Sometimes, you need the f-bomb.

Today, as my writing evolves, I find that so does my voice. I am writing my second novel in the first person. My blog posts are shorter but pack more of a punch. I let out my funny. I don’t worry about hitting the high notes. I’m all about that alto. I drop the f-bomb. I am honest, I am true. I tell my real story and don’t hold onto shame. On my blog, I have recently written about things I’ve fully never said, to anyone. I have nothing to hide anymore. I have a deep, resonant pitch and I am singing.


You’ll see a new post from me, every day in November as part of National Blog Posting Month, NaBloPoMo. Join in for an entire month dedicated to writing. See BlogHer for all the information you need to get started.



  1. this is so great….I could have written it right from the first line. I too started out as a soprano, but now live solidly and happily in the alto section doing the harmonies. And yes, finding our voice – a metaphor for all the places we live in the world.


  2. This is very powerful. Finding our authentic voice is life giving. Thanks for sharing yours with us.


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