All people live by a culture which is made of up belief systems, habits and norms. At the same time cultures change and for some reason the cultural norms change quite quickly in the United States where cultural fads quickly come and go.
In my recent trip to the United States I was struck by how many young women were speaking with odd gravely voices, which I discovered is known as “creaky voice“ or “vocal fry”. This is a form of speaking where vocal chords are rattled in an unnatural way and then fragmented words emerge from the back of the throat. This seems to be the latest cultural conformity among young women and some studies claim that over 70% of them speak this way. Doctors say it destroys the vocal chords.
This form of speaking is almost like a unique dialect where words are broken apart and at the end of a sentence they fade into mini Caterpillar tractor like sounds. Words become a series of guttural fluctuations that get swallowed up the ending word at the end of the sentence.
I was wondering if young women do this to differentiate themselves from the previous generation or even to piss-off their mothers? The problem is that even their mothers are now speaking this way. In reality when a woman speaks like this it makes her appear unsure of herself.
One can only wonder about the philosophical presuppositions behind creaky voice and why has this become a valued form of communication in today’s female population? Is it a DaDa form of art that has come back to hit us in auditory form? In a Postmodern world is creaky voice a way of tangibly demonstrating that words ultimately succumb to a subjective meaninglessness? Perhaps it is a derivation of the Eastern ‘Om’ chant? What are the origins of this form of speaking and why has it become so popular?
Creaky voice is an odd cultural conformity. But more so, I wonder if it is silent fragmented scream that begs for love?
Recently one of my friends here in Spain asked why I chose the pen name Cass Tell? He recognized that I have a need for personal discretion and indeed that’s one of the reasons I decided to live in a remote area of the Costa Brava. Since moving here I’ve found out that many artists, writers and poets live in this area. In fact, in meeting one of the local writers I asked him if there was anything like a get together of these people, having an image of Bohemian artist/writer get togethers in Paris in the 1930’s? He responded, “Oh no. We all know who we are, but we stay within our own worlds.”
Indeed, that’s what I’ve found in coming here in that it provides a unique environment for writing and art. It’s a place where the mind can be creative and run free. Not far from where I live is Cadaques, where Salvadore Dali lived. When I see his art I understand where it came from or at least how the surroundings here contributed not only to the imagery in his paintings, but also to the philosophic undertones.
A poet friend of mine once came to stay with me for several weeks and he said this was the best place he ever experienced to write poetry. During that same time a novelist also stayed with me and she used her time to write a wonderful fanciful novel. The surroundings are special and it is a joy to share this with other authors and artists.
But, I haven’t answered the first question. How did I choose the pen name Cass Tell? Actually, it came from a visit to Nice, France where I was there doing some research for a novel in the Blue Fate series. After wandering along the promenade des anglais, a pedestrian walkway that follows the coast line, I walked down to the sea. In looking up at the seawall toward the East I saw a large sign that said "CasTel". At that point the name Cass Tell seemed appropriate and it stuck.