Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Sound of Memory

“These images in vivid and violent tones have resulted from (the) crystallization of memories.” – Henri Matisse

Photobucket

Pickles sits up, rapt, her concentration focused on the driveway with her ears up listening. After a few seconds, her back relaxes, she turns toward me her eyes asking if I knew what alarmed her – tires crunching on gravel from a car pulling in the driveway, the motor purring in reverse as it backs up to turn around, a quiet throttle when the car drives off. Satisfied she settles back down and closes her eyes. I thought nothing of the distraction and went back to reading over my revisions for my book.

As I read, something niggled away at my thoughts…gravel crunching, motor purring, the click-clack of pebbles knocking together, the muted roar of the wind through the trees. I couldn’t breathe, left speechless by an avalanche of sound. Not hearing sounds, memories of sounds, sounds I used to pick up. I skimmed back over the chapter I had just read - there were no sounds.

I had become so accustomed to filling in the blanks when it came to hearing, I automatically used visual metaphors in their place; body movements became emotional indicators, missing sounds were laced in physical backdrops. All of these things together had painted a panorama of all the senses but sound. With words, I had managed to bring my world, a world absent of sound, alive. Would anyone have noticed eventually? Maybe, maybe not... if you close your eyes and plug up your ears, on some level you still hear those everyday sounds - water dripping from the faucet, the dog panting, the cat’s vibrato throaty meow, or the creak of wood floors underneath. You know they’re there without me telling you. Just as Pickles’ reaction alerted me to a car turning around in the driveway.

We automatically equate certain sounds with items or places, when we're given a visual perspective our sensory memories kick in to fill in the blanks. There are five senses in which a writer can delve into – hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. Is it possible for sensory overload to the point of telling not showing when writing? Definitely. So in the end does sound matter? I think hearing is one of top five senses when it comes to describing something. Sound connects the writer and reader on a familiar stage. I remember sounds, voices, echoes carried between the space of two people. I intend to use all the tools at my fingertips to broaden my world and yours…with the sound of memory.

On a separate note: I wanted to share the song - Broaden a New Sound by Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory. A perfect fit for this post. The music is a blend of psychedelic and groovy, or so I read. Smashing Pumpkins comes to mind with that description, you’ll have to look up Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory and let me know. I’ve included the lyrics for your enjoyment.

Broaden a New Sound

A walk sounded good,
maybe find an old bench made of wood.
There I could look around.
Bring up all the things that were bringing me down
and let go, so let go
Let go. Let go.
Broaden a new sound.
The wind, a bird and a broken branch
You'd like to hold it down
but it only knows ears
and it doesn't know hands

Photobucket

Picture from here

41 comments:

  1. I think that your writing definitely has some great descriptions of sounds. I can see how it would be challenging to remember them when you can't hear. But the purr of engines, the click clack of pebbles...those are wonderful and make the words sing off of the page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael! Love your description 'words sing off the page'. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  2. You can bring such a unique perspective to your writing by delving into your memories. Also, I think you would be more apt to use some of the other senses that many of us forget about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janel! They say when you lose one of your senses you develop a sixth sense. I like the idea of having a different perspective on things. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  3. You can write in a way that I'm right there in the story! It's amazing to me how you put your words to paper! You definitely use all five senses when you write! I'm in Awe of your writing ability!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hollie! That is one of nicest compliments to a writer, the ability to bring their readers into the story with them. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  4. Without trying you effortlessly explained how difficult it is to weave elements of the senses into the written word. Nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear friend. The difficulty comes in letting your readers experience those senses, without realizing the writer is responsible. It's one of the details I love about writing. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  5. Sensory overload is something that I experience when sight, sound and 'feel' becomes overwhelmed and I find myself unable to digest all the information that comes in... I could feel myself in this piece even with the 'volume on low', using all of my other senses to observe the world around me...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *smiles* Thank you! The key words, "I could feel myself in this piece" is everything I aim for. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  6. Beautiful song Indigo. It's a wonderful thing to be able to draw from memory what lacks in life. Your words are so beautifully put together than no one would doubt that your tool box is overflowing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Annie! Life is an amazing supply house for my toolbox. There isn't a day that goes by I'm not thankful I was able to hear at one time. I can't imagine the task ahead of me without having experienced at least some level of sound. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
    2. and yet those who never have, survive and thrive. We count to much on what we have as opposed to what we can do without. YOU are amazing, strong, and a force to meet...a force I attempt to equal.

      Delete
  7. Such an interesting epiphany to have concerning your work. It's funny how we can be blind to certain things, and then once brought to our attention, how it appears to be everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell me about it! I'm hyper-aware about sound in writing now. Thanks for stopping Tony! (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  8. Wow...an aha! moment for me. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! It was definitely an aha moment for me. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  9. Most of life exists captured by memory, since even the here & now is constantly(whether we like it or not)being informed by it. The body is one big receptor. I enjoy the way our senses sometimes shatter all probability. ~Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. I'd like to think even though our memories mold the people we become, those receptors also serve as touchstones to change - the ability for some memories to outweigh others. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  10. I wonder if we get more "sensory" with age? So many sounds, smells, sights seem to stir my memories. And I'm not that old!

    Anyway, I like your description of how it all comes together. And how Pickles watches over you;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lou! Pickles is definitely one of a kind. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  11. Dear Indigo, thank you for your kind words. They helped me so much. Fear can take us down in so many ways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I could be there for you sweet friend. I hope today finds you in a much better mindset. I've found fear to be the base root of most anger. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  12. Beautiful. Powerful. Such a voice...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Absolutely, I strive to use all five senses! Love your descriptions and beautiful poem!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christina. I believe, when we master the ability to use our senses when writing, the portrait we paint with words becomes flawless. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  14. I've had moments when I've heard a sound that triggers an immediate and visceral memory. It can take my breath away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm often stunned by some of the sounds I still remember. I'm only 7 years in, so we'll see if my memories hold up to a few more years. Thanks for stopping by Beth! (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  15. It is amazing how our different senses can trigger such vivid memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! I know I worried when I first went deaf, I wouldn't remember some of things I heard. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  16. It just occurred to me...not hearing has enabled you to describe sound--and real sounds--better than most hearing Peeps. And your talent to use words as you do puts the gilt edge around your posts. Thank you, Indigo.
    PEACE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That compliment takes the cake Steve - to describe sounds better than a hearing person. Thank you for the smile you left me. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  17. Another lovely post, Indigo. Your sound memory plan sounds perfect. I'm not great at including sensory descriptions as I write - I'm learning to go back in and add them though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes even I forget to add them. There is a reason for revisions, right? ;)

      Most of the time I tend to be too descriptive and worry about not allowing my readers to delve into their own senses to get a visual. (Hugs)Indigo

      Delete
  18. Sound is still so intuitive, and so complex - I believe that you describe it well in your writing (you just did - crunch of gravel and all that. Perfect.) Your words allow you to transcend senses, I believe, with your imagination and your spirit and your memories. Your writing never lacks for bringing me directly into your experiences.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've missed reading your blog. Sorry I've been MIA. Have a good week.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Indigo; your writing blows me away; it's more complex then I could imagine penning down and keeps me interested and intrigued with each new post of yours!

    ReplyDelete
  21. humans are primarily sight animals. we get into reading based mostly on images, for example. but sounds are profound, maybe largely becuz we do indeed take them for granted. your post reminded me of a poem by jaroslav seifert i read recently called the song of the nightingale. here's the front end:

    i am a hunter of sounds and a collector
    of tape recordings.
    i listen to huntsmen sounding the mort
    on very short waves.
    let me show you my collection.

    the nightingale's song. it's fairly well-known,
    but this nightingale
    is a kinsmen to those of whom neruda was listening
    when he turned the heads of prague's young beauties.
    added to the recording is the amplified sound
    of a bursting bud
    as the rose petals begin to unfold.

    and here are a few gloomy recordings:
    a person's death rattle.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for giving my silence a voice, my muse your words, and taking the time to discover my prose.