In the world of Fine Art, such as painting, one can, if one has the knowledge of such things, know who the painter is without seeing a signature somewhere on the canvas. It has to do with the manner in which the artist lays the colors onto the canvas, sometimes the choice of subject matter is also a clue. That distinguishing mark is called a Signature Stroke. Thus, even an untrained eye can catch the difference between Michelangelo’s full three dimensional human figures, and Van Gogh’s brilliantly lit pastoral scenes, or Picasso’s cubism from Salvador Dali’s melting timepieces.
Each of these painters was an individual first, before becoming an artist. Each of them lived in a different place, time, and had very distinct individual experiences that trained their eyes to see in different and unique ways. And those differences were conveyed to their subjects and the manners in which each of them expressed what they painted. Each of them, during the process of expression, developed a very distinctly recognizable Signature Stroke.
That distinguishing stroke applies to most forms of expression. Frank Sinatra did it My Way, and although others might do that same song in their own fashion, it will always bring Old Blue Eyes to mind when it is heard. Fashion designers build whole careers, as well as fortunes, on creating a look that is easily recognizable by those who can afford their products. A Signature Stroke is simply that which marks the particular expression from others, makes it uniquely individual as such. And the competition to establish such individuality is extremely fierce in all fields.
We, as individuals, are each unique. I have been writing about just that for a long time now. We each have our own way of doing things, our own perceptions, and definitions of the way things work and their meanings. And whether or not we set out to do so, that means that each of us have been, or are, in the process of developing a Signature Stroke.
In the world of writing, which is the one I speak to most frequently, there is a definite Signature Stroke experience. No one will, or can, lay down words in the same exact fashion in which I do, or you do, for that matter. My words are shaped and formed by my individual experience, and so is the choice of subject matter. And the same goes for each of you who might be reading these words I am laying down on this canvas called a blog.
Someone else may very well write about keeping an ongoing journal, but they will do that in their own unique style and the manner in which they perceive it. We may even agree on the majority of issues that arise under the heading of that topic, but we will not choose the same exact words to do that.
Someone else might focus in on making rules to write by. I, obviously would see that differently. And that is absolutely necessary, because there are individuals out there who need to know the rules before they can begin, and then there are those, like myself, who balk at the very thought. And between us, myself and this imaginary other writer, we will cover a bit of the territory that entails a broader and wider view of the entire subject.
And, by the way, readers also have a distinct Signature Stroke. It can be seen in the choice of reading materials. There is an entire world out there that could care less about these words I am laying down and will never even think to read them. Just as there are worlds of words out there that I would never take a glance at, simply because they don’t particularly interest me.
The point I am trying to get at is that devilish issue of comparison. It stems from that absolute necessity to choose one thing over another, listen to one voice rather than another, especially where it concerns the development of that Signature Stroke we all have and use on a daily basis.
Comparisons, especially when made in the arena of creativity are deadly. They are extremely poisonous to the fragile creative element in all of us. Creative energy is a healing element built into the human psyche. And it can be killed off, murdered by one misplaced and thoughtless comparison.
Yet, comparisons are a daily, ongoing experience. How do we choose, if we don’t compare this to that? The problem originates when we apply those comparisons to our own person and the creative activities we engage in. We all need to engage in creativity of one sort or another. It is healing because it allows some form of release in lives that are constantly stressful and can often become overwhelming.
Creativity is an expression of ones individual self. Whether it is found in a well cooked meal, a delightfully told story, or the composing of an opera, it is all the same and provides the same things for the individuals thus engaged. My schtick ( I love that word), is encouraging others to write on a regular basis. It is an extremely cheap form of self-expression, therefore creativity. It is my effort to help heal the world I live in, while healing my own inner person.
But, if I compare my own writing to that of others, I will always first find fault with my own. We are our own worst enemies on this one. I am an expert on how many ways I do this incorrectly and could make a list, that might go on for pages, concerning how badly I do this thing. What would it prove? That maybe I should try cubism? It’s far too late for that, and I already know I wouldn’t have the patience for that kind of detailed work.
Nope, I will continue to stick with my schtick, even if I don’t do it as well as hundreds of others out there. They remain out there, while I am here, inside my own skin, doing this thing I love to do, and although I know I don’t do it perfectly, I do it well, on occasion. That, in turn, lifts me up, it sings through my veins, and it makes me happy to be so engaged. That makes it, for no other reason, the healthiest thing for me to be doing.
This writing might be considered square, even “cubic”, to others, but that doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. And as long as I steer clear of comparing what I do to what others do, I will find my own form of happiness right here on these pages. I might even find my own Signature Stoke, and wouldn’t that be something to write about?
Can a blogger develop his own Signature Stroke? Iguess blogging is still not popular enough for this to be worthwhile.
Hello Leafless. What Diddums says below is absolutely correct. Voice is the term writers use in place of Signature Stroke. One develops a Voice through much writing and in the same fashion as a painter develops his own unique style. And although that Voice may be tempered through experience, it will retain its recognizable features of word choice, tone, and style.
And yes, each blogger has a Voice. However, I sense something else inside of your question. You use the word popular and worthwhile in the same sentence, after asking your question. I personally think that developing ones own voice is always a worthwhile endeavor, be it to an audience of one inside the pages of a journal, a once a week blog on some obscure scientific subject, or a syndicated column followed by thousands of readers.
Popularity is another thing altogether. That is somewhat of a whim, and entirely dependent on the choices of others. I may wish that my blog would become popular (and yes it is fun to watch those numbers climb ever so slowly upward), but I don’t have a lot of choices in the matter. I personally am simply grateful to have found this space in which I can express myself and my ongoing passion, and occasionally be heard and offered questions like the one you have taken the time to put here today. Thank you for the opportunity.
All bloggers have a unique ‘voice’ from day one, I think. I once recognized someone by his style, tone, and choice of words. 🙂
Hi Diddums, thank you for addressing the question so succinctly and with your usual clarity and brevity. You do have a signature stroke and a recognizable Voice. More important, thank you for guiding me to this important subject matter, prompting me to write the above article. Everyone needs to know that they are heard and understood. I am so used to speaking about the uniqueness we all own, that I sometimes forget the actual elements that go into making that individuality stand up and be noticed. You nailed it for me, lol. That’s what I get for commenting on how even the Teacher has to go back and relearn the basics on occasion.
PS. Maybe you’d like to help me out with all of this on my new blog? You did say you thought there was value in my poetry, but poetry is an even more iffy thing than most.
LOL, I always worry that I sound more succinct than I meant to be, especially as I tend to go back and edit out all the ‘I thinks’ and ‘maybes’ and other softening phrases which were there when I originally wrote something. Partly because I read that they’re not needed… but maybe they’re needed more than grammarians believe.
I’m glad that you have written about all this, as I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how much I should persist in things that I’m pretty invisible in… digital art as much as writing. Your words have made me feel more upbeat.
I’m a poor judge of poetry, I think, though yours has struck me as smooth and full of interest. I must sleep now, but hope to visit your new blog soon. 🙂
Diddums, as far as the I thinks, and maybes go, soemtimes I find them necessary for that softer affect, as well as to make it clear that what I’m saying is just my own opinion, rather that an overall statement of fact. Besides, this is a blog, not an acedemic thesis, lol. I think one has to arrive at a balance or really drive oneself nuts.
I’m pleased to know that someone is getting something out of it. See, you just made me feel far less invisible, lol. I have heard it said that women become invisible at about age sixty and am beginning to think there is some validity in that thought.
As far as the poetry goes, that’s where my real heart lies, so its far scarier to me than all of this. If I mess this up, it isn’t the end of the world. But the poetry? I’d definitely cry about that one.