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Blog In Book Club

Finding courage and your voice: A lesson from 'A Northern Light'

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By Maria Elisa Anacay
Posted May 25, 2013 in
I find solace in words and devour books by the hundreds. However, I am a very critical reader as I hold authors in a special pedestal. For every 20 novels I read (as was in the case in the last two months), I will find only one title that will move me enough to pick up my pen and sing praises about it. Such is the case of Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light.
The front cover laid out the story: it is about a girl named Mattie Gokey who wanted to be a writer. We all know what's coming -- she was hindered by life, faced horrendous obstacles, and somehow found enough will to follow her own dreams. Given the synopsis, I was prepared for the novel to be a bit of light reading, something that I will forget in a day or two. Little did I know that by following Mattie's story, I would be starting on a journey of my own.
The story was told in the protagonist's own voice in two periods: before and after a major incident. What I loved most about the story is how Mattie found her own voice. She collected words and loved learning them. She battled her beliefs, the promises she made, and what she wanted. How she was someone who was really smart, but who was really dense when it comes to life. How she finally realized how wrong she was and how much she needed to live.
This is best summed up in a dialogue between Mattie and her teacher, Miss Wilcox. Miss Wilcox said that a writer's voice is how it moves the readers. It's what makes one author unique from another. It's the "feeling that comes from your words."
A writer's voice is her own. It is unique, it is truthful, and it is yours. It is a voice that cannot be silenced, a voice that must be heard, a voice that will endeavor against all odds.
Like Mattie, I too, am an aspiring writer. Like her, I have many excuses. My laptop broke down, I have a full-time job, I don't have time. But following Mattie's story made me realize that I have a voice, and it is about time that my voice is heard. I have been writing for all the wrong reasons. It's about time that I write for myself.
And so I will end on that note. If you want to find your voice, then perhaps you should follow Mattie's story too.

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