I never liked the sound of my voice. I hadn't paid much attention to it until I heard it on a recorder when I was in first grade. That was not what I wanted to sound like, and I became self conscious about it. I secretly wanted to sound like my friend Zelma. The teacher selected her to be the narrator for a skit we were doing in second grade.
Then in high school I tried out for Radio Workshop at school. I selected James Weldon Johnson's "The Creation" for the piece I recorded. I didn't get selected, but my friend Alva was. The teacher called me in to explain why I didn't get in. She played my recording and I sounded tentative. I didn't like my voice. I got through high school, college, and into my career without having to present anything until a mentor pushed me into Presentation Skills training. UGH!!
Somewhere along the line I discovered that if I had a whiz-bang technical presentation with all the critical information that my audience wanted, nice bullet points, nobody cared about my lack-luster voice. My audience was attentive, I got applause. I still didn't like my voice.
When I published my memoir, I forgot that somewhere along the line I would have to read some of it aloud...*groan.*
So far I have gotten by with small groups. I do cozy conversation pretty well. As a matter of fact when I have been called upon to speak, (my church-lady thing) I do the cozy conversation to the big group, and I can get by. A joke and a song, and nobody notices the creaky voice.
I've heard poets and authors do readings. Some sound like me, and will put an audience to sleep. Some shout their prose like a preacher, putting the fear of God in the audience. Some have that lovely cadence and pitch.
I decided that I'll strive for Diane Sawyer. We're about the same age, have the same kind of alto, the trace of Southern accent. I want her cadence, the way she lifts the ends of sentences without sounding like a valley-girl.
Maybe I'll just keep it short, before anybody falls asleep.