Wednesday 7 March 2012

Listen without prejudice

When the audio version of A Season of Leaves came out - soon after the book was published – I promptly put my copy of it on the shelf and forgot all about it.
Presented in a lovely case - on 12 CDs no less - the novel is read by actress Anna Bentinck who has done over 800 similar recordings for the BBC. But I shied away from listening to it and left it to gather dust. What stopped me? Well, I do have this thing about reading my own work out loud, so to hear someone else do so would have been excruciating for me - and I’d want to head red-faced for the hills.
However, four years on, after being encouraged by the person who understood my fear but made me do it anyway, I duly uploaded the CDs to my iPod for my daily commute. Once I’d stopped giggling and cringing, I settled into listening to the, believe me, bizarre experience of having my own words relayed back to me and was pleasantly surprised. Anna does not just read the book out loud, she gives the story nuances, pauses and emphasis, exactly how I originally intended. She gives the characters different voices that fit their personalities like a glove. She portrays their humour and their humanity just as I first imagined. And even though I know what’s going to happen next, I am enthralled!
Hearing my words being reborn and the story spinning out, like it did as I wrote it, has given me bags of confidence and a whole new belief in myself. Now, why didn't I do this years ago?

No comments: