I am not one of those people inclined to fill out a questionnaire that will tell me what Harry Potter character I most resemble. But when friend and co-writer Elizabeth Tuck sent out a link designed to illuminate what famous author a person’s writing resembled, I took the bait. The website, iwl.me, asks that you post a few paragraphs of your work. I write in many different arenas and not surprisingly, my writing style was as diverse as the forums: blogging, novels, personal essay and poems. I was particularly curious to see if a letter I had written for a contest where I was supposed to impersonate Jack London would pop up as Jack London. There is too much material here for one blog, so I am doing a multi-part series. This first post addresses my poetry.
Now, I am not much of a poet, but as a previous blog noted, my dog Bailey, inspired my fingers to click out a few verses. I’ve written nine poems in all about that silly mutt. When I put the following verse in, the website pronounces that I write like James Joyce:
Cold black nose nudges hand
Lifting, up, up
Exposing the vulnerable neck
Pet me here
I trust you
I admit I felt a bit honored by this comparison. I looked up some information on the author and he has been described as one of the twentieth century’s most influential authors. He was born in Dublin, so we both share Irish blood. I have a real hodge podge of ancestral origins: Irish, English, German, French, and about a dozen others, but I am a quarter Irish and that is the largest percentage of any of my myriad of bloodlines. Do nationalities affect our voice? Maybe the era of the writer important. James Joyce was born in February 1882. Would a different poem in would I resemble a different author?
The following verse declared I wrote like P. G. Woodhouse:
Scratch me here
Leg bicycles the air
Oooh, that tickles
Again, a tingle of pride shimmied across my cerebral cortex. An English author this time though. So much my theory about Irish descent. However, Woodhouse was born in October 1881, only a few months later than Joyce . Maybe I’m just old fashioned. So I plugged in one more poem:
Brown puppy-dog eyes
Clear and bright
I’ll stay beside you
Can we go for a walk?
This time I was compared to Cory Doctorow. No straightening of the backbone here. My reaction was, who? A quick google search revealed Doctorow was a Canadian journalist and science fiction writer born in 1971. The formatting of this particular poem is deliberate, but I wondered if it had influenced the outcome. However, a reanalysis with the revised format still resulted in a comparison to Doctorow. I pulled in another poem and came full circle to James Joyce again. Interesting that the same subject matter would give me such a diverse group of author comparisons. Also interesting that at least two different poems would offer up James Joyce as my writing muse. I take that as a complement.
What author does your prose most resemble? Visit: iwl.me and let us know.