Read as if you were singing. Words have a sound and a story to tell. They can be music to the inner ear and they can charm an audience. But they must be savoured. Most of our reading is flat. We absorb text in a linear fashion where quantity and information only are valuable. Our silent reading doesn’t recognize punctuation nor does it attempt to reproduce intonation. Yet there is so much more hidden behind the grammar. To write is to hum a new melody; for the readers not to sing along is a big waste of time and beauty. A paragraph wants you to pause and catch your breath. A question mark hopes for a raised eyebrow and a couple of tones up. A coma suspends words in mid-air like a wave the bow of a ship. A period is a brick in a high wall, small but essential to the structure. Some words are rounded and soft, they flow like water and caress the ear like the touch of a feather. Others are harsh and angular, forcing the throat to act as an amplifier and casting shadows as they are spelled. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed. However a few words well chosen and skillfully blended together paint a splendid picture; read them out loud and the picture comes alive. Words are magical.
A essay on reading
August 10, 2007