Thursday, January 29, 2015

Do you hear that?

Some sounds have died out. Have you ever thought of that?

In your memory, some sounds live on—they are a perfectly normal part of everyday life—yet they could be sounds your kids or grandkids have never heard.

I thought of that a few days ago when I read 11 Things That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard.

Sounds like:

a rotary dial phone

a manual typewriter

a cash register

and those bells that used to ring when we pulled into a gas station.

If these memories make you smile, you’ll enjoy Kara Kovalchik’s 11 Things That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard.

Enjoy that list, but add to it. Make a list of your own unique sounds and include them in your memoir.

Think about the sound of milking a cow—the sound of warm milk squirting into a metal bucket. I suspect most people have no idea what that sounds like.

People acquainted with only gas or electric “fireplaces” might not know about crackling and hissing sounds that real logs make in real fireplaces.

Those who grew up pre-photocopy machines will remember the sound a mimeograph machine makes.

Did you grow up listening to air raid sirens? I did. 

I’m working on a memoir about three years in a remote spot in South America. My sound lexicon contains sounds of howler monkeys, Honda 90s, bulls chomping on the hibiscus plant outside my kitchen window, mosquitoes buzzing ears at night, and many more.

Frederick Buechner writes of sounds from college days: “I hear the clatter of feet on stone steps and wooden steps, the rifle-shot slap of books dropped to the writing arms of seats in lecture halls… and [in the dorm] the playing of everybody’s phonograph at once—“Honeysuckle Rose,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “As Time Goes By.”… (The Sacred Journey)

For your readers’ the sake, for your memoir’s sake—to help your memoir zing, to add to your readers’ enjoymentdo the work necessary to make sounds come to life.

Need help remembering? Close your eyes. It’ll probably help.

And click on this link for Amber Lea Starfire’s blog post—it’ll help you capture and pin down sounds from your past.

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