Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Challenge!

Two Challenges Today:

Writer's Challenge - I've been listening to an audio tape of Michael Ondaatje's Diviserado while in the car. It's nearly finished and like all good audio tapes of good books (note both must be good!) I have the cadence of his writing in my heart right now. His elegaic, sad and sexy voice. Listening to a book is so so different than reading one. I've listened to a number of books that I am very familiar with - books by Anne Tyler, Haruki Murikami, Annie Proulx, and what comes out beyond the plot, beyond the characters, beyond the story, is voice. Your challenge for the next week is to find a writer you like and read a page or two of their prose or poetry before beginning work on your own writing. Out loud.  Let it get right into you. It doesn't have to be anything like your writing - in fact it might be good if it isn't but you are not to worry that you will lose your voice and pick up this other one. It isn't so. I know that. Just give it a try and see what happens and I will too. I'm going to read poetry I think, or Huck Finn.

Other Challenge for non-writers or those who want something less directive - find someone - a sick person, a child, your partner, your cat, and ask them if you may read out loud to them. Find something both of you like. I highly recommend Earthly Paradise - an informal autobiography of Colette. Heaven!
This is tricky I know but really, give it a try. Do you know that hearing is the first and last of our sense perceptions? Reading is a very healing thing to do for both the listener and the reader...


Mason Canyon said...

Love your challenge. From time to time I do read aloud to my cats. I usually read something by Lilian Jackson Braun, but I tell them they are as smart as the cats in her books.

Thoughts in Progress

Clarissa Draper said...

SOunds like a fun challenge. I'll try it. I don't read a loud as much as I would like to.


Helen Ginger said...

Both are excellent suggestions. I find that books on tape/CD/etc. can be good or bad based on the person reading. The reader can make a big difference. But if they can get just the right voice, it really adds to the experience.

Watery Tart said...

I sure wish my son would still let me read to him. We shared some FABULOUS books. My daughter too, but she engages less--listens differently--where my son and I respond very differently. I miss him saying, "Oh, I bet this is going to happen next!"

For now, I will need to read to the cat.

Watery Tart said...

Erm... that would he he and I engage the SAME, but differently from my daughter...

Jan Morrison said...

Mason - who knew so many people read to their cats! My dog might listen depending on the book of course.
Clarissa - oh good - yes it is important sometimes in order to get the rythym and voice properly...
Helen - that is so true! that's why I get them from the library - if I bought them and didn't like the voice it would be a total waste. I often get two at the library for just that reason...
Oh Tartlette - I'm sure I got you somehow! sometimes my elderly step-kids will let me read to them when they're sick. My SP will sometimes on long trips.

Words A Day said...

Nice challange, very gentle! Will read some Selima Hill, her poems are surreal yet earthy. A big plus is that I don't fully grasp most of them, it's as if reading her renews language for me. Have a good weekend Jan!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Lovely idea. My daughter used to read (broadcast) for the sight impaired. I personally love to listen to audiobooks when falling asleep---just like a little kid being read to. Only the book and voice have to be just right. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite readers.

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's one of the reasons I miss having children around the house. I always loved reading aloud to my kids.

I never listen to audiobooks though -- I guess I should give it a try.

Talli Roland said...

That's a great challenge! I haven't listened to audiobooks for ages, but thinking about it now, you're right - the voice just leaps out at you.

I will certainly undertake this challenge this weekend!

Jan Morrison said...

Niamh - Selima Hill, eh? I don't know her but will look her up forthwith!

Tricia - I adore Neil Gaiman but have never listened to his audio books - I know I saw one at the library so I'll grab it next...

Patricia - We live about half an hour out of town and I also go, often, farther to take care of my grandkids - I never mind driving if I have a good audio book on the go! Instead of getting riled up at the news or with the money saving strategy of the CBC's inane 'contributions by listeners' I can get lost in a good book. Bliss.

Talli - glad you like it - reading aloud is one of those pleasures that seems to have gone by the wayside. I think it is a dreadful loss.

Eeleen Lee said...

I love audiobooks- its like being read to before bedtime

Jan Morrison said...

Eeleen - thanks for dropping by! Yes, I guess it is although I only listen in the car so that would not be so good! Do you know your name is nearly a pallindrome. How wonderful!

Helen Ginger said...

Another benefit of doing your challenge is that you get practice at reading aloud, which you probably will have to do at talks when you start promoting your book. I'd even recommend you tape yourself and play it back.

Jan Morrison said...

Helen - such a good idea! Also, it helps you find the rythym of your own work when you read the distinct rythym of others and then go back to reading your own aloud. Vital really.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Wish I had a sexy voice so I that I liked hearing myself read out loud!) I intend to give this a try. However, my attempt may simply be reading some Thomas the Tank Engine story to my grandson!

Jan Morrison said...

Jane! read him some poetry - kids love it! Even if it seems obscure...look up "How the Water Came Down at Ladore". I'll check that title out right now! Yes here it is and it is by Robert Southey and he wrote it in 1830!

Here it is...though I think there is some missing...

"How does the water
Come down at Lodore?"
My little boy asked me
Thus, once on a time;
And moreover he tasked me
To tell him in rhyme.
Anon, at the word,
There first came one daughter,
And then came another,
To second and third
The request of their brother,
And to hear how the water
Comes down at Lodore,
With its rush and its roar,
As many a time
They had seen it before.
So I told them in rhyme,
For of rhymes I had store;
And 'twas in my vocation
For their recreation
That so I should sing;
Because I was Laureate
To them and the King.

From its sources which well
In the tarn on the fell;
From its fountains
In the mountains,
Its rills and its gills;
Through moss and through brake,
It runs and it creeps
For a while, till it sleeps
In its own little lake.
And thence at departing,
Awakening and starting,
It runs through the reeds,
And away it proceeds,
Through meadow and glade,
In sun and in shade,
And through the wood-shelter,
Among crags in its flurry,
Here it comes sparkling,
And there it lies darkling;
Now smoking and frothing
Its tumult and wrath in,
Till, in this rapid race
On which it is bent,
It reaches the place
Of its steep descent.

The cataract strong
Then plunges along,
Striking and raging
As if a war waging
Its caverns and rocks among;
Rising and leaping,
Sinking and creeping,
Swelling and sweeping,
Showering and springing,
Flying and flinging,
Writhing and ringing,
Eddying and whisking,
Spouting and frisking,
Turning and twisting,
Around and around
With endless rebound:
Smiting and fighting,
A sight to delight in;
Confounding, astounding,
Dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound.

Collecting, projecting,
Receding and speeding,
And shocking and rocking,
And darting and parting,
And threading and spreading,
And whizzing and hissing,
And dripping and skipping,
And hitting and splitting,
And shining and twining,
And rattling and battling,
And shaking and quaking,
And pouring and roaring,
And waving and raving,
And tossing and crossing,
And flowing and going,
And running and stunning,
And foaming and roaming,
And dinning and spinning,
And dropping and hopping,
And working and jerking,
And guggling and struggling,
And heaving and cleaving,
And moaning and groaning;

And glittering and frittering,
And gathering and feathering,
And whitening and brightening,
And quivering and shivering,
And hurrying and skurrying,
And thundering and floundering;

Dividing and gliding and sliding,
And falling and brawling and sprawling,
And driving and riving and striving,
And sprinkling and twinkling and wrinkling,
And sounding and bounding and rounding,
And bubbling and troubling and doubling,
And grumbling and rumbling and tumbling,
And clattering and battering and shattering;

Retreating and beating and meeting and sheeting,
Delaying and straying and playing and spraying,
Advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing,
Recoiling, turmoiling and toiling and boiling,
And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,
And rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,
And flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping,
And curling and whirling and purling and twirling,
And thumping and plumping and bumping and jumping,
And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing;
And so never ending, but always descending,
Sounds and motions for ever and ever are blending
All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar, -
And this way the water comes down at Lodore.