Friday, 26 September 2014

Hearing your own words

being read aloud is a strange experience. Oh yes, I know we all hear that sometimes. We write a note to someone and they read it back - that sort of thing is commonplace enough.
But this was different. I had written something for someone else to use. It made her job easier - at least I hope it did. And it is her job to read and read well.
The woman for whom I wrote the words to use is a "celebrant" - weddings, funerals, naming ceremonies and so on. Yes, she does them all. She is someone the Senior Cat knows well and she is, I believe, outstandingly good at her job. She is often asked to do "difficult" services such as the funeral of a child.
Usually she knows nothing about the family she is asked to help. Although she knows me we do not know each other well. And, of course, she did not know my friend at all - or my friend's sister. So, I wrote the words for part of the service and she read them.
I knew what was coming, of course I did. I had written the words. But, oddly, I did not know what was coming either. It sounded different.
"Read it aloud to yourself," is advice I have been given by other more accomplished writers, "then you will be able to hear whether it works or not." Mmm....maybe. I thought it was good advice and still believe it probably is but I have also discovered that the way it sounds to me will not be the way it sounds to someone else. I won't hear it the way they hear it.
Oh yes, really I have always known that but it was more than usually obvious yesterday. We don't hear ourselves as others hear us.  

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