Reflections on finding my voice (literally)

Child Touching Mirror in Bright Room’ by Владимир Васильев (Pexels)

The mirror is a symbol of self-realisation.  The idea of reflections, and how you see yourself in the media, is a perfect metaphor when it comes to #ownvoices.  That’s why when we were asked to produce a podcast this subject was the one that meant something to me. 

When researching the #ownvoices movement I originally wanted some way to get Twitter analytics of how many times the hashtag has been used since it was created.  I couldn’t figure out how to do that, or if it is even possible, so instead I looked for statistics on diversity in publishing, which is what #ownvoices is all about.  This sentence ‘The reflection is small, warped, and damaged because it isn’t authentic.’ (Jimenez, 2018) informed the whole podcast.  Authenticity is what #ownvoices is all about but I’ve known for some time of the ‘cancel culture’ amongst the YA set, and how this is particularly rampant among the queer YA books.  That struck me as a pertinent point when discussing the risks of social media in activism, as an ideal that can be overtaken by social justice policing. 

As someone who’s never made a podcast before this was well outside my comfort zone, and there were a few hiccups in the process.  For those of you considering making a podcast, don’t make my mistake of buying a fancy microphone before you’ve even started. (It wasn’t that fancy, but still, a waste of money.)  I recorded the entire podcast on that microphone, only to find that it was super sensitive and picked up every little sound, including the birds outside and my neighbour’s muffled tv.

I rerecorded it the second time with a lapel mic I’d bought earlier last year and that was much clearer.  I also used a cute little piece of music (cited below, seriously check out this guy’s stuff, he has something for every type of creative endeavour) which I found by typing ‘classical’ in Soundcloud’s search engine, as I wanted something classy but fun to go with the Literature themed title of the podcast.

After several months of making videos and now this podcast, I can honestly say that I don’t cringe when I hear my voice recorded anymore.  I think this has made me braver when it comes to putting media out there (check out my TikToks) and I’m not so self-conscious about my appearance either. The one thing I’ve struggled with, though, is to make myself sound less like I’m reading, and more like a conversation.  When I listen back, I can picture myself exactly as it was, sitting in front of a computer, reading off a screen.  If I continue on with these podcasts, I will need to think about techniques to make my voice more conversational and engaging.

If you listen to podcasts and have ever thought, I could do that, well, you can.  A quick google search showed me a video on how to edit in Garage Band, and the same video showed me how to export to a file that Soundcloud would accept.  The most important piece of knowledge I’ve learned from my first year back and university after 30 years is that nothing is as hard as you think it is.  Oh, and also, trust in yourself. I finally do.

References

Albertalli, B (1st September 2020) I know I’m Late, Medium, accessed 31 Jan 2021

Cabrera, NL, Matias, CE & Montoya, R 2017, ‘Activism or Slacktivism? The Potential and Pitfalls of Social Media in Contemporary Student Activism’, JOURNAL OF DIVERSITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 400–415

Cooperative Children’s Book Center (27 October 2020) BOOKS BY AND/OR ABOUT BLACK, INDIGENOUS AND PEOPLE OF COLOR 2018-, University of Wisconsin-Madison, accessed 1 Feb 2021

Duyvis, C, (n.d.) #ownvoices, Corrinne Duyvis, accessed 1 Feb 2021

Jiménez, LM 2018, ‘The Overwhelmingly White, Straight, and Able Face of Children’s Literature’, Michigan Reading Journal, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 64–69, viewed 11 January 2021

Leeandlowbooks (28 January 2020) WHERE IS THE DIVERSITY IN PUBLISHING? THE 2019 DIVERSITY BASELINE SURVEY RESULTS, The Open Book Blog, Lee & Low Books, accessed 1 Feb 2021

SINGAL, J 2019, ‘Teen Fiction Twitter Is Eating Its Young’, Reason, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 58–63, viewed 11 January 2021

Music

‘Freedom’ by Alexander Nakarada (CC BY3.0)

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