Leaving an impression

I am so impressionable, if you touched me I would probably retain your fingerprint on my skin.

Just kidding, but barely. What I read, watch, listen to, & see really colors how I see the world. (This is probably true of everyone but I might have it to such a degree that the Victorians would have a term for it: weak minded.) I guess my kids have this, too, since there are times when I think their friends' voices, words, inflections are spookily emerging from their mouths. I try not to call them on it too often because, really, I understand the pull.

I am an ad executive's dream come true: if there are happy people, the sun slanting across the room just so, music creating a mood I like...I'll think about buying your lovely product. But where this tendency shows up the most is when I read.

~ When I read Girl with a Pearl Earring, I had the overwhelming need to pay attention to small details of my daily life. To chop things into uniform pieces and sort them by color, as she does in the book. To make laundry doing a meditation, a daily sacrament. I didn't really reach these heights of existentialism but I did pay more attention to the beauty of every day details. Sadly, it didn't last long but it was interesting while it lasted.

~ Another book I read for a book group years ago took place in Egypt and the main character, a woman, meticulously went through a face moisturizing routine every night. If I delay wrinkles at all, it will be thanks to that book. I've been very well moisturized ever since. Interesting that I can't remember anything else about the book...hopefully Oil of Olay doesn't start doing product placements in novels when they hear about this!

~ I LOVE a good mystery or spy novel but I have to intersperse them with other things. Otherwise I start looking at the world as a scary, suspicious place. I start wondering "why is that red car behind me turning every where I turn? should I go down this side street to test them? should I take down their license plate (which is reversed in the rear view mirror)? Oh..it's just my neighbor & we're both headed home to the same street." Can be embarrassing & I really prefer thinking of the world as a mostly friendly open place.

~ I just finished the Twilight series. Now I can have long talks with Lauren about whether Edward or Jacob is right for Bella (apparently I'm raising a Jacob lover. I know how this appalls some of you). But the mood of the book has stayed with me. I'm kind of expecting Edward the vampire to show up in New England sometime soon. Which would be fine with me...

~ I loved all of Madeleine L'Engle's books as I was growing up, especially the Austin series. When I think about the family in the book--the warm raucous kitchen, loving relationships, interesting dinner conversation--I can still conjure up the exact feeling I hope I create here at home.

~ Of course when I was younger, I became a spy with Harriet, started planning running away to a museum to find the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, wanted braided hair like Laura Ingalls, the list goes on.

As someone trying to be a writer, this can be boggling. What IS my voice? On this site, sometimes I sound kind of funny one day (well, I try! I said kind of), sincere the next, folksy another day, formal the Friday after that. (This is probably because I read so many great blogs it's inevitable I pick up the mood and tone of others. Given my weak mindedness. But I never take the words; that is shameful!). The effect is expressive schizophrenia, I'm afraid. If I were a song, I would be My Ever Changing Moods, I guess. Hopefully you don't get whiplash.

So...what has left its impression on you?
How do you find your voice?