Reading aloud is apparently enjoying renewed popularity.
I always peruse The New Yorker on my iPad, and am often encouraged to hear the author read an article to me. I’m never tempted, because I read faster than anyone could talk. But I’ve been interested in the phenomenon: In what is often called an age of limited attention span, there are people who want to sit back and listen.
So I was not entirely taken aback when Kae Sable, managing editor of the Dime Show Review, asked if I might read aloud my Tattoos, which she’d recently published online. “As I read your bio,” she wrote, “I wondered if you still have access to a broadcast environment where you could record?”
I could probably persuade a few old pals at Channel 3 to give me a hand, but they’re a half-hour away, and I have a decent microphone on my desktop. I recorded a sample to send her, and she said it passed muster. “This feature has been wildly popular in Volume 1,” she wrote.
Two hours later — two hours! — I finished recording a five-minute story. Thereby hangs a tale.
I read through it once, played it back, and heard heavy breathing. I pushed my headset mike farther from my nose and mouth.
Halfway through the second reading, the forced-air heat came on. I finished reading, but when I played it back, the air was audible. I set the thermostat a notch lower.
I’d barely started the next try when the phone rang.
I was well into a fourth try at 3 p.m., when my chiming clock stentoriously announced the time.
I’d almost finished try number five when the dog barked at a workman repairing a chipped sidewalk visible from the bedroom window. I closed the venetian blind.
I started again, just before 3:15 – as the damned clock reminded me.
By this time, I’d rehearsed often enough that I almost had it memorized, and read fairly convincingly. I finished my last try before 3:30, and sent it off to Kae. It’s up with the story: Click here – Tattoos — to both read it and hear me read it aloud. Reactions welcome.