Vox 28: Elbow on “Desert Island Discourse”

“Desert Island Discourse” is talking to yourself in your head. This helps people be most themselves, and it leads to very voice-ful writing, and a kind of solid, rich centered but unrigid sense of identity. In contrast, collaborative writing makes it harder for people to use their “gut voice”–or “personal voice” or “personally connected voice. Some writers of “open essays” such as Montaigne, White, and Anderson–the “musers” and “deep explorers”–tend to have very deep, idiosyncratic, strong, and interesting personal or gut voices.

I guess I connect this to the fact that having a dialogue with yourself is the most personal thing in the world to do–and that people who learn how to do it become more themselves. My point is that it’s a wonderful and deeply human thing to be able to do–to learn to talk to yourself as though you were on a desert island–and that it makes you more yourself. This is a good angle on the disputes about voice and self. That we get to be more ourself and feel ourself more our self–the more we can have conversations with ourself–allow voices in our head.