One of the great moments in my summer was working with my Mom at Jack Straw to record her story about learning to sail. She was in the first group of storytellers to record their short pieces for the Story Chairs project. I’ve been working on the audio for the chairs since July and hope to be finished recording stories by the end of September. Then Moe Provencher and I will sequence, mix in songs and music and get the audio ready for the electronics. Hopefully the lobby at Jack Straw will be ready for the chairs before the end of the year. There will be a celebration for sure.
Mom read beautifully – a natural, as Moe said. She immediately got the knack of picking up a flubbed line and of listening to the recording and knowing what she wanted to re-do or tweak. It was a deep pleasure to share the studio with her, and to hear her read aloud again as she did every day, nap time and before bed, when we were children. Hers is the voice I often hear inside my head when I read a book, measured and nuanced and reassuring.
Recording sessions have been fun and revelatory throughout the project: matching a voice to a story by someone who can’t make it to the studio; hearing how each reader’s voice is their own, or how they sometimes read a piece differently than I might. The writing is always transformed into something else when read aloud. The experience has reminded me again of the origin of stories, in human kind and in my own life – the sure promise and music of the storyteller’s voice, and the readiness of the listener to be utterly changed by their story.