Saturday, July 07, 2012


I'm listening to the music of Derek Bailey.  It's rich and layered, engaging.  Oddly, I remember an old Sesame Street bit.  Not so very odd on second thought, as it too is about layers of sound.  In it, we enter a room in a typical household where the television is on, a vacuum cleaner running, a dog barking, and a faucet dripping - or so on.  It's been a long time but you get the idea.  In succession, each of these sounds goes away until we're left with only the faucet, then, one by one, they're added again.
  It makes me think about listening.  

   I've been plagued these last months - a year? - with the urge to write.  I call it 'plagued' because this is a very inconvenient time for writing.   I seem to have a lot on my plate.  Then again, it might be possible with better time management and less princess scardy pants.  Most likely, I'm somewhere in the middle of that.

But that's not the point I'm making.

  I'm writing whether I want to or not.  I find myself doing it in bits.  Inconvenient bits.   What does that mean?  I'm also finding it harder and harder to shut off the writing in my head.  That's just part of being human.  Hundreds of words go through our conscious minds every minute. 

  What I'm discovering these last weeks is that I work better, in my visual sort of alphabet, when I can shut that off for a bit.  I can do that easily when watching a movie in the theater.   But it's not so easy to do elsewhere. 

But...the music is there.    One of my favorites is the sounds in a busy restaurant.  I like to close my eyes and listen.  There are layers there, rhythms and notes and textures.

Same in a playground, car, on a hillside, your back yard and one of my favorites - under water.

  It's not as easy as I thought it would be, to listen without speaking in my head.   Maybe it's easier for you.  But I doubt it, because if Poppets have taught me anything about being human, it's that we're more alike than we can ever know when it comes to the basics.  Still, in my experience, it's worth the effort.  Already I can tell a difference.

Listen.  Until you can hear the oboe.  Or the night birds. Or the sound of your own breathing.


Kelly said... is extremely hard for me to listen without the words running through my head. You are right. It sounds like good practice, though, to try...repeatedly, until successful.

I encourage you to write. Mostly because I love your writing and tend to be able to relate when you do. Also, though, because I think it is good to get things out of our heads.

Anonymous said...

I was reading not long ago that the reason that so few of us have memories that predate our language aquisition is because, once we become verbal, it changes the way we store information, making the old information difficult to access.

I think of this often when I'm trying to listen without thinking. It's as though our brains become addicted to words once we have the use of them. I've not decided yet what I think of this....