Tuesday, March 20, 2007

During these last few days I’ve been doing a considerable amount of careful listening, and enjoying it immensely. For instance, I’ve spent some time each day listening to a fine actress reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I settle myself in a comfortable chair, turn on my iPod, and follow along in the book as she tells me the story. What I especially love is the way she delicately alters her voice to fit each of the many characters, making the experience more like attending a play than reading a book. I also find that her voice somehow draws me in to the story more than I might if I were just silently reading the words to myself. Another pleasant listening experience I’ve been having is listening to a superb actor read Milton’s Paradise Lost. This is a poem I have loved for many years, but I’ve never experienced the drama of the story the way I am this week. As I listen to his voice and imagine that it is Milton himself who is speaking the words, I am pulled into the excitement of the great epic. However, the most unusual listening experience I’ve been enjoying lately is old-time radio programs. I found an internet site that has thousands of old shows, and it has been a thrill to put my feet up and go back down the years with these classic programs. Strangely, I find these spoken shows to be far more enchanting than television programs. I can’t literally “see” what’s happening in the story, but with my ears and my imagination I can see in a different and more compellingl way.

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