Influences and Reality
As adults do we tend to read the styles we've grown up with? Do we find ourselves subscribing to and reaching for magazines in the checkout line that our parents read? I do. As I become more independent I see subtle changes in the styles around me but find myself grounded in what my parents, my brothers and my environment have familiarized me with.
Strewn around me are volumes of "Outdoor Life", "Prevention", "Better Homes and Gardens", "Midwest Living", "Vogue" and "Masonry Construction." A magazine to satisfy many interests, each containing pieces of my life. You will not find "Time" or "Forbes" in my hands unless I have research to do in them for school. I am not familiar with politics, big business or urban life and I find the style dull. I can't convince myself to pick up political magazines for pleasure. Richard Lanham in Revising Prose says, " A style that at first seems peculiar may not be a "bad "style but simply eloquent about an unexpected kind of reality, one that you may or may not like" (106). I read styles that are my reality and though some may not find "eloquence" in "Masonry Construction", I do.
You may guess that someone in my family is involved in construction and wonder why I read such literature if it is not my career. As the daughter of a brick and stone mason I have grown up listening to my dad talk construction and have always been interested in what he does. Though "construction" doesn't have a soft tone to it, possibly not possessing "eloquence" , writing about it and the finished product can. Articles in "Masonry Construction" explicate the fine details of this labor through straightforward writing and a calm informative voice. I can "hear" my dad explaining the qualities of a Vermont Castings wood stove, not only their practicality but their beauty. This magazines style is concrete, so to say, and eloquent in addressing a way of life.
A great influence on the styles around me is attributed to where I live and intend to live. The first magazines I looked at as a child were "Masonry Construction" and "Popular Mechanics" because that is what my dad read. When my family moved up north to a resort from the Twin Cities suddenly my world at the age of six was changed and I loved it. I think I was too young to fully appreciate styles of writing at age six but as I got older I saw my way of life in other magazines such as "Country Living." A conservative, country life; simple and surrounded by beauty.
"Country Living" and "Better Homes and Gardens" have a small town, country style. The articles and information given have conversational tones, a sense that something is sincere and shared. Recipes are often given with a story to introduce their significance, perhaps a family memory; not just jotted down for another to copy. The writing involves me. I think "What a great memory" and as I look on I see that I could make the same dish with ease. I enjoy stories about other rural peoples'...