Hello there! My name is Kasey Tross, I live in Richmond, Virginia, and I discovered Mormon Mommy Writers through my friend Amber (aka, Amber Lynae). I haven't actually seen her since high school (or shortly thereafter?) but I enjoy her writing and I have had a good time reading the experiences of other writers on Mormon Mommy Writers.
I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 kiddos, ages 6, 4, and 9 months. I write two blogs, one on budgeting, The Beautiful Thrifty Life (www.thebeautifulthriftylife.
blogspot.com) and one on whatever random thoughts pop into my head, Making It Up As I Go (www.kaseymakingitup.blogspot. com). I write far more in my head than actually makes it onto a computer screen, but I dream of someday being published. For now, dreaming and blogging (in between chasing children about and cleaning) will have to suffice.
It's Your Voice
by Kasey Tross
For most of my life, I’ve been “The Writer.” No, I’ve never finished a novel (though it’s my lifelong dream), written a play (unless you count that one in fifth grade), or been published (does a guest post on my favorite blog count?), but to my friends and family, I am the one who can take awkward feelings, confrontational situations, and important proposals and make them beautiful with my words. It’s something akin to written voice-overs- I simply take someone’s thoughts and ideas and present them in a way that is clear, concise, and comely. I’m not changing the message, I’m just making it sound good. (Does it sound like I’m tooting my own horn? Perhaps, but I think that most writers out there can identify, and I promise that there’s a deeper meaning behind this besides me gloating. Just keep reading.)
In middle school I remember writing a flow chart on how to gracefully break it to your parents that you got a bad grade. It got passed around the school enough so that it took on a life of its own, the 1990s equivalent of “going viral.” As I recall, there were significantly less groundings after report card day that year.
Later on in high school I progressed to writing flowery love letters from my brother and his friends to the cute girls they had crushes on (but never had the guts to actually speak to). The girls were all aflutter as they wondered who their secret admirers could be, and my brother smiled and gave me a behind-the-back low five as we watched them swoon.
In college my skills actually gave me a career boost at the call center where I worked when I rewrote the cold-calling script for telemarketers. The day after my supervisor overheard my new-and-improved sales pitch, she asked for it in writing and promptly made copies and announced to the team that everyone was to use the new script. Sales didn’t go up, but let’s just say I don’t think it was the script that was the cause.
Now I’m married with young children, and my ways with words are usually limited to thank-you notes for teacher appreciation week, elaborate status updates on my Facebook page, and the occasional indignant rant to a company with whom my husband or I may have had an unsatisfactory experience. Just recently, however, a situation arose in which it was apparent that my skills might be needed for something more.
In order to protect the parties involved, I won’t go into too much detail. A close family member, who has often relied on me for my wordworking, was recently contacted by someone from his past whom he never thought he’d hear from again. This person was interested in rebuilding a relationship, and there were a lot of tender feelings involved. I fully expected him to ask for my help, but I was torn about whether or not I should oblige.
You see, I’ve discovered that there are certain times in life, such as in the examples cited above, when the message is the important thing. And if the message isn’t received properly, then it won’t get through. Those are the times that it is vitally important to use the right words, and to use the right “voice” to express those words. However, there are other select times in life when, while the message is important, the voice of the messenger is even more important. This person didn’t contact my family member to “hear” me- they contacted him because they want to know him. They want to discover who he has become in these years of separation. As fancy as I may be with my words, I can’t be him. And in this case, when feelings are still too raw for spoken conversation, it is the incomplete sentences, the misspellings, and the awkward phrasings that will tell this person more than my polished writing skills ever could.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain this to my family member. He was going through a difficult time, and despite my misgivings, I wanted to support him in any way I could. Finally, I tentatively asked if he would like my help. Much to my relief, he said no, he felt this was something he needed to do himself. “Good,” I told him, “It needs to be your voice.”
So while lovely words may have changed the fates of my middle school friends, placed an extra beat or two in the hearts of some pubescent teens, and even made some telemarketers sound good (almost), there is one thing this “Writer” cannot do: I can’t be someone else’s voice when it really counts. Because each of us, writers and non-writers alike, have a voice that is imperfectly uniquely ours, and sometimes it doesn’t matter what we say or how we say it. It’s the sound of our voice that will be the first step to someone discovering for the first time who we really are.