Monday, January 25, 2016

365 True Things: 302/Listening

The shadow of my car reminds me
of the Little Prince's elephant
I drove the first leg of my long-awaited road trip today. The Mojave Desert, and on into darkness right around Barstow, finally ending up at Needles on the Colorado River. I will see just what that means tomorrow, in daylight.

While driving, I listened to all sorts of audio: NPR Now via Sirius XM (I got a three-month trial with the car)—very handy when you're in the middle of nowhere; Pandora a little; and Lucia Berlin's A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, on Audible. (I am starting to figure out how to juggle Pandora and Audible, both of which are on my phone, and the Subaru knobs and buttons.)

I found that although I enjoyed listening to the stories, my mind would wander. Hearing the written word seems to render the language less sharp. I enjoyed what I heard, and a couple of the stories had characters that were so sharply drawn I managed to stay with the words. But I also found myself wishing I was just sitting with the book and savoring the writing.

Of course, I was driving, so I was not singularly focused on the stories; I was ostensibly paying attention to the road and my fellow drivers. And looking at the landscape as well. But I seem to have no trouble attending to the words when I'm listening to an interview or talk radio. There's a difference between spoken language and the crafted word. Written language, when it's done well, is like a rabbit hole of creation that you can get drawn down into and become lost in it. And that, I believe, is best done sitting in a comfortable chair with a book.

I do own a copy of Cleaning Women, so I'll try to make a note of the stories that most grab my attention and maybe go back and read them the good old-fashioned way when I get home. But for now, it's a nice way to while away Interstate time.

1 comment:

  1. gah.. I am terribly behind on your blog.. your are first on your roadtrip! .. i have always wanted to try out the audiobook a bit more. I did it once for a Doris Kearns Goodwin book ( i think it was No Ordinary Time ) while i road the exercise bike...hmm .. just thinking about now!!