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Now listening

I discovered a love for audiobooks today. On a whim, I decided to play one (The Sadness of Beautiful Things, by Simon Van Booy, an author I hadn't read before) while making dinner, and two hours later, I was still hooked.

It probably helped that I was listening to a collection of short stories, with each story being read by a different voice, and with each voice reading the lines of each character a little differently.

It was surprisingly relaxing, so long as I could hear the story clearly. (I write this because I tried to listen to one story while taking a bath--told you I was hooked--and that wasn't a good idea.)

The stories were beautiful too, closer to the kind I want to write. Van Booy collected true stories told to him during his travels, used them as starting points, and turned them into this collection. That background was what got me interested in the first place.

I'm a story collector as well, but I never thought of using them in my fiction--at least not deliberately. But now maybe I will try.

Interestingly, I'd always assumed that I wasn't an auditory person. I love visual aids and pretty fonts, and I like to watch mouths moving as people speak. But I think I like listening to nice voices and beautiful sounds just as much.

The last time before this that I listened to a story being told was during the first season of Serial. It was my initiation into podcasts. I loved Serial, particularly its game-changing format. I think that podcast had inactive parts of my brain working again.

The first time I listened to a story being told, it was by my mother. When we were children, she would read to us in the afternoon, before our naps, and the longest book I remember her reading was Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

It didn't have as many pictures as the other Disney books we had, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and I remember very well looking at blocks of text and being frustrated at not being able to decipher them. I couldn't read yet, so the task was my mother's. Except that she would fall asleep before us, and because we wanted the story finished, we'd pry open her sleeping eyes.

Soon after that, I was reading on my own, happy to be free from needing interpretation. Thinking about it now, reading was my first taste of independence.

I used to think I'd hate being read to, now that I can read on my own. But now I think it's just a matter of finding the right material, the right voice. A new door has been opened!

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