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