Literary, Linguistic, It’s Definitely Personal

When I started blogging years ago, I did so as a linguist. My blog (this site: Stephanie Schlitz’s Blog) was sub-titled “Literary, Linguistic, It’s Nothing Personal.” I wrote primarily of teaching and research issues arising from my work as a professor because that was the subject matter I knew best. “Academic” was a comfortable voice for me, a familiar tone.

More recently, I’m writing in the voice of a character. A girl. A vulnerable teenager whose world is spinning out of control around her. She’s a not-yet-adult but soon-to-be mother. She’s still a child.

Research articles, to be trusted, demand a careful review of the extant literature in the field, solid evidence, and a discussion that illustrates how and why that evidence makes the case for the researcher’s argument. It’s not precisely objective, but it comes close.

Fiction, on the other hand, demands a bit of your soul, a wild and irreversible leap of faith. There’s no follow-up article when new evidence comes into light. There’s no addendum, no corrigenda. Fiction is simultaneously personal and impersonal and yet imaginary, as if these are inseparable, despite the improbability of their ever having converged to become one in the first place.