Thursday, October 26, 2006

Writers Who Speak

Surely all writers speak? =)

At some point in their lives, anyway.
But today I am thinking about listening to writers read and talk about their work. I kinda specialize in this form of listening. I crave it -- hearing other writers' views on facing the demon blank page. Listening to how they go about crafting their magic. Hearing the stories they tell.

I have heard some mighty fine writers speak in my time and they've all given me something -- something of the process, something of the agony involved in ripping open the writing vein and bleeding the story onto the page.

Interestingly (or perhaps not...), I have also heard from a great number of writers whose often incredible prose does not easily make the translation to comfortable oral communication. I remember listening to one thriller writer who, when called upon to read a fragment of her work, read the entire excerpt in a monotone. No preamble or unnecessary chatter. Just a drone of words like the sound of a dyspeptic bagpipe.

Now, I love reading aloud. I do it almost every day, just for fun, mostly. And I love to be read to, to be spoken to, by someone who cares about the oral tradition of storytelling. And -- Man -- I love the words. But the words and the voice together sometimes make magic.

Here, in no particular order, are just a few of the writers I have heard weave their particular brand of magic:

Jack Whyte, Roddy Doyle, Alexander McCall-Smith, Diana Gabaldon, Ian Rankin, Bernard Cornwell, Marsha Skrypuch, Michael Slade, Anne Perry, Eric Walters, Bill Richardson, Robert Munsch, Shelley Hrdlitschka.

I may have to add a few as I ponder further. Who is on your list?


Anonymous said...

Well, as one who read all the Harry Potter books aloud to her children (and husband and ever-expanding hangers-on at the cottage who didn't/couldn't get into town to buy the latest installment) I fully support reading aloud to any and all who will sit still and listen. Cool blog, btw. Pamelala (who can't figure out how to be anything other than anon)

erdnase said...

How much does Robert Munsch rock? Man, he was like the greatest reader ever and when I saw him, he didn't even read from a book. All from memory.

And holy -- I leave the interweb for a week and suddenly you turn into Tolstoy on your blog...

(gotta catch up... [or is that ketchup?])