Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On the Pleasures of Reading Aloud

Two weeks ago, I attended a reading here on UTC's campus by one of our creative writing faculty members. Part of the "Works in Progress" reading series, Sybil Baker read from her novel-in-progress. I also had the pleasure of hearing Sybil read from her short story "The cape of Good Hope (the story will appear in upstreet 4) during the Spring 2008 Meacham Writers' Workshop.

First, let me say that it's a pleasure to hear Sybil read. Her stories are engaging and detailed, she's sprightly and energetic, and she edits through her material well to fit in the time frame for her readings (a rare feat in a writer who offers readings, and one much appreciated by the audience!).

It's been so long since I've been to a reading (months and months) that I'd forgotten how pleasant it is just to be read to, sitting back, enjoying the wash of words and the story. Now, I *love* to read. A lot. To the detriment of other areas of living an active life, really. But it is completely different when you don't have to put forth any effort but to listen and simply become engrossed, unable to cheat by scannign to the next paragraph. Very relaxing. I find it extraordinarily soothing. (Could it be because Mom used to read to me constantly as a child? I don't know.)

I still, however, can't bring myself to purchase books on tape (or CD, or mp3, or what have you). I like the intimacy of feeling the written page in my hands (one more reason why, as awesome as the Kindle is, I will not be getting one anytime in the near future, unless they can make it feel and smell like paper. There is a different kind of intimacy at a reading, surrounded by people you may not know, but suspended in the same bubble of imagination and story by the author. There is something about that sensation that I love that just isn't recreated with a CD alone in my home.

Dear everyone: if you would like to woo me, find me at a tired time, and offer to read to me on a cozy warm couch somewhere.


Sybil said...

Colleen--thanks for your kind words! Can I shamefacedly admit that I'm thinking about buying a Kindle/Sony reader simply for lightening my load when I'm traveling? (the Bahamas and South Africa are coming up) There's a reading a Rock Point Thursday at 7 if you want to be read to...

Colleen said...

Sybil - I hear that the Kindle is wonderful, and I've looked at Griffey's - even I have to admit it's rather incredible. Thursday I have guy's Theory class, or I'd definitely be at Rock Point :(