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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Louder, Please

Words were meant to be read aloud. The timbre, the inflection, the lyrical cadence is released only by the human voice. Words in business reports or medical journals are intellectual, and do not suffer from being silently read, but stories, memoirs, poetry---these were meant to be voiced, repeated, whispered and shouted around a crackling fire.

Before there were writers, there were storytellers, patriarchs, bards and wandering minstrels, who sat before great fires, or roamed from village to village dispensing words and wisdom, drama and praise to an expectant crowd. These masters knew the power of a well turned phrase---the effect of well chosen words. If they were worth their salt, their listeners were enthralled and moved with emotion. Children trembled at their whispers and cries. Women fainted, and men were compelled to test their courage on the hunting grounds or the battlefields. Words were power, and those who wielded them were revered.

Eventually, someone put pen to paper---actually charred wood to rock---and writing was born. Today, we record those stories to be passed on in books, letters, even blogs. And still, if we’re worth our salt, the words are powerful. Men, women and children are both thrilled and challenged. But something has been lost in the quiet libraries and waiting rooms of our civilization. Where is the music, the cadence, the inflection? Now the responsibility for releasing those words to their fullest extent lies not with the writer/storyteller, but the one who reads what the storyteller wrote.

“Read my words.” It’s the cry of every writer. But a true story-teller has a deeper, more desperate cry: “Read my words---out loud.”

4 comments:

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Once I listened to a collection of African folk tales on cd. It was so much better than reading them becuase the readers were African with wonderful accents that added so much to the stories. And since they were folk tales they were meant to be passed on verbally.

How I would love it if someone would read me a bedtime story every night!

childlife said...

I think that's why I love words so much. We spent a lot of time reading out loud in my family as a child. I do it with my children now. It's something our society definitely needs more of... and your words are definitely worth their salt : )

Donetta said...

Wow! I love this! My Hubby has read aloud to the children nightly for 10 years! around 45 minutes. I listen sometimes full of wonder. I think it is one of the greatest gifts that he will ever give our kids.
I love it when he listens to me read my words aloud. He tips his head back and smiles and his face lights up at my cadence and pleasure fills me like a romantic interlude of adoration.
To be read a loud is the highest of praise to any writer.

carrie said...

Yesh...I agree completely!!! I'm blessed because I have done story telling and play acting for so long that when I read something I can "hear" it in my head but so many people can't do that...

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