In this chapter, Anne Ruggles Gere speaks to the idea of voice and the term we most commonly use to refer to a writer's voice - authentic. Gere claims that "many of our current discussions about voice presume a stable, coherent self while our conversations about other aspects of composition take for granted a more complicated and less unified concept of the self we call 'the writer'....I believe that the finely textured personal and autobiographical writing now emerging in the academy leads us to the public and social contexts rather than the private and individualistic ones." She goes on to explain that the academy often forgets that an authentic voice is a relational one. Student's voices cannot be separated from his or her particular family history or the specific people and events that helped shape them. Furthermore, an authentic voice is not autonomous; an authentic voice has relationship to other voices.
As someone who is constantly hackled about her voice, I relate to Gere's story. However, I find myself on the opposite spectrum of volume. I am constantly told how loud I am. I have early memories of friends sush-ing me in public settings and my vocal coach begging me to go to speech therapy (I never did). To this day, friends and classmates pass me in the halls of Ithaca College saying, "I knew that was your voice," and "I heard you coming this way." And like Gere, my voice has a history. I have my mother's voice as well. Ironically, her robust voice earned her a spot on the cheerleading team in junior high, as well as nodes on her vocal chords by her early 20s. I am currently recovering from self-induced laryngitis from a music festival I attended over a month ago.
I would like to discuss whether or not my classmates agree when Gere claims that writing instructors see their student's voices as something to be fixed. I personally have never felt that my professors were trying to change my authentic voice, only improve my craft.