When we say things out loud they change. In unpredictable ways.
Have you ever rehearsed a sentence, something like “I love you” or “We need to talk, you really have learn to put the coffee-filter in the right way, or you will cause a counter-flood…” or anything else of importance?
Have you rehearsed it, only to find yourself finally saying it out loud, and noticing that the words are ridiculing you, or unreasonably encouraging you, or doing something else that is not in line with your original intention?
Have you found that the person whose ears your words land upon seems to have heard something entirely different? And that their facial expression now has robbed you of any subsequent sentences?
If you have felt what volume and real time can do to the sentences of your imagination, then you know, that by putting your voice behind your thoughts, you are taking a definite step out of certainty.
You abandon the reliability of your inner monologue. And that’s a thrill.
For us Verbal Suppliers it’s the reason we seek to be in the presence of words-out-loud. It’s why we gather on a Saturday at Halyards and listen to each other. It’s how we learn and, to a large part, how we grasp the world.
Most of us have spent half a lifetime in the theatre or in music. We have always had a fascination with the sound of words, the cadences, the rhythms, the voices of our narrators, the ways that context and medium can change or unearth meaning.
A fascinating thing really, how oral and written traditions are looking for ways to go hand in hand. How podcast and written content like sharing virtual space.
And we seem to remember how to value each.
When I come across a familiar children’s book, flipping through the pages will take me back, but mainly it’s the memory of my mother’s voice (or Uncle Werner’s voice, who’s groundhog-imitation sounded like an Eastern Mobster) that drops me in the bunk-bed times.
Hearing something read out loud lets us be a pure listener again, lets us find the story in a voice, while giving our eyes the freedom linger on a picture, or a nightlight, or the storyteller’s face.
And, in conclusion, an illustration and a challenge.
The husband and I, we were fighting. About things one fights about and later cannot remember. Perhaps it began with a stinky kitchen-sponge, or a lost electric bill, or someone’s refusal to just ONCE call in the order at the Chinese restaurant. Whatever the inciting incident, it sure had led me to feeling unappreciated and globally misunderstood. And so -in the midst of heated sentences that began with “But you didn’t,” and “You never,” and “Could you just once,” and were countered by justifications like “I did,” “I thought YOU said,” and “That’s bullshit!”- I suddenly found myself yelling a sentence that had sounded perfectly true, to the point, and appropriate, in my head.
I yelled: “WHAT ABOUT ME? WHAT ABOUT MY FEELINGS?”
Everything stopped right there and we both burst into laughter.
Because, well, It turns out that after 30 + years of soap operas and reruns of Dallas seeping into our common cultural sphere, it has become a sentence that has turned on itself. It’s wearing its narcissism and righteousness like a flashy cape now.
And good thing. By turning on itself it knocked some perspective into us.
I dare you to find a way to say “What about me? What about my feelings?” with dignity and seriousness. If you can, let us know, we will record it and upload it to the site, and I will buy you a drink at Halyards on the 19th.