… If my voice is mine because it comes from me, it can only be known as mine because it also goes from me.
This is from Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism by Steven Connor (2000):
My voice comes and goes. For you, it comes from me. For me, it goes out from me. Between this coming from and going towards lie all the problems and astonishments of the dissociated voice.
My voice comes from me first of all in a bodily sense. It is produced by means of my vocal apparatus — breath, larynx, teeth, tongue, palate, and lips. It is the voice I hear resonating in my head, amplified and modified by the bones of my skull, at the same time as I see and hear its effects upon the world. It must surely have something to do with the fact that the voice issues from the sternum — with the pushing out of the breath from the lungs — that the emotional being is commonly said, in the West, at least, to be located not in the head, but in the heart. If my voice is one of a collection of identifying attributes, like the colour of my eyes, hair, and complexion, my gait, physique, and fingerprints, it is different from such attributes in that it does not merely belong or attach to me. For I produce my voice in a way that I do not produce these other attributes.
[line break added by me to make this easier to read online] To speak is to perform work, sometimes, as any actor, teacher, or preacher knows, very arduous work indeed. The work has the voice, or actions of voice, as its product and process; giving voice is the process which simultaneously produces articulate sound, and produces myself, as a self-producing being. Here, now, I speak; now, again, it is I speaking still. If, when I speak, I seem to you, and to myself as well, to be more intimately and uninterruptedly there than at other times, if the voice provides me with acoustic persistence, this is not because I am extruding or depositing myself with my voice in the air, like the vapour trail of an aircraft. It is my voicing of my self, as the renewed and persisting action of producing myself as a vocal agent, as a producer of signs and sounds, that asserts this continuity and substance. What a voice, any voice, always says, no matter what the particular local import may be of the words it emits, is this: this, here, this voice, is not merely a voice, a particular aggregation of tones and timbres; it is voice, or voicing itself. Listen, says a voice: some being is giving voice.
… More even than my gaze, my voice establishes me in front of things and things in front of me. It is not just that I aim my voice at the world ranged in front of me, typically in an arc of about 30 degrees; for my voice also pulls the world into frontality, and disposes it spatially in relation to this frontality. When I speak, my voice shows me up as a being with a perspective, for whom orientation has significance, who has an unprotected rear, who has two sides. The sight of me speaking underlines the fact of my visual inhabitation of the world. When children cry out to warn Mr Punch of who is behind him, his unawareness of what is invisible to him is much more striking and funny if he is speaking at the time. As I speak, I seem to be situated in front of myself, leaving myself behind. But if my voice is out in front of me, this makes me feel that I am somewhere behind it. As a kind of projection, the voice allows me to withdraw or retract myself. This can make my voice a persona, a mask, or sounding screen. At the same time, my voice is the advancement of a part of me, an uncovering by which I am exposed, exposed to the possibility of exposure. I am able to shelter behind my voice, only if my voice can be me. But it can be me only if it has something of my own ductility and sensitivity: only if it is subject to erosion and to harm.
[ … ]
… So here is the essential paradox of the voice. My voice defines me because it draws me into coincidence with myself, accomplishes me in a way which goes beyond mere belonging, association, or instrumental use. And yet my voice is also most essentially itself and my own in the ways in which it parts or passes from me. Nothing else about me defines me so intimately as my voice, precisely because there is no other feature of my self whose nature it is thus to move from me to the world, and to move me into the world. If my voice is mine because it comes from me, it can only be known as mine because it also goes from me.