Words, sounds, pictures

Margaret Elizabeth Parks mep3 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Tue Nov 13 16:43:08 EST 2001

I have a really strong sense of direction when I read.  I always know in
my head the general layout of the place, and which way everything faces.
I have a map in my head of Ingary, and I have a feel of the elevation of
the hills around Market Chipping. . . I've always been the type to study
maps in the front of books, but the place feelings in my head are much
much stronger.  (I just like maps in general--I've got about four on my
walls right now.)  I have the same sense of place in dreams, and that's
what I remember most clearly after I wake up--what direction everything
faced, and where it was.

Other than that--I apparently speed read (I've never met anyone who could
read faster than I could--this is not a challenge, just my experience, and
I'm sure that someday somebody will outdo me).  I read the shapes of the
words instead of the words themselves (I was just told the other day that
not everyone does this, so if I'm wrong, I apologize) and I guess that I
would say that the books show up in my head like dreams.  I know what
people look like and so on and so forth but I have to think about it to
know--the way I have to try to remember dreams.  And just to bring in
another topic (can't you all tell that I'm just now catching up on SO MUCH
email?), the first _fantasy_ story I _wrote_ was an awful awful thing
written in purple ink based on a dream.  It's too embarrassing to even go
into what it was about.  The first (fully developed) fantasy story I
created would have been the play I did in theatre camp when I was five: I
remember being extremely annoyed because the teacher and her guest were
impressed by the fact that I had a plot and everything! and paid no
attention to my fine, fine acting.  I have since discovered that I much
prefer writing, directing, and stage managing in theatre (when I have to
be involved in it) to acting, but when I was five acting was the thing.


On Mon, 12 Nov 2001 Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk wrote:

> Rebecca, quoting Christian, quoting Ven, quoting...
> >>>From: "Ven" Pamela Dean came into the debate at this point (prompted by
> >>>Bujold) to say that she doesn't so much "look" at the words as
> >>>"hear" them. Now, me, I think I hear the words and receive
> >>>sensory, not just visual, impressions, but its hard to watch yourself
> >>>reading.
> >>
> > Ferricide (I should get around to calling you Christian, shouldn't I)
> respondth
> >>i would say that the way i process a book is that i read the words, and then
> >>get a 'sense' of what's going on. i really don't have specific concrete
> >>images of the characters or places in my books... although, if i think back
> >>on them, they're there -- hazy, but there. i definitely don't even
> >>necessarily get faces for characters. i like the texture and style of
> >>writing as much as the content, which is probably why i'm such a fan of
> >>banana yoshimoto, who relies entirely on style and mood to communicate her
> >>stories.
> >
> > I agree on some books, but most well written books I get distinct pictures.
> > Maybe not faces, i'm always bad at seeing faces, and in that way I
> > defintely agree with you -- I can't see Hermione in my head, but I could
> > describe my problems with the actress.
> > But other things -- I could probably draw a more clear picture of Polly's
> > Granny's house, complete with colors, and smells (I would use smelly
> > crayons!) than I could of most of my friends houses/dorm rooms.  I have a
> :-)
> > map n my head of her city more clearly than I do of Madison, and definetly
> > better than the one of Oberlin.  I usually get a clear sense for clothing,
> > so I'm very likely to respond to clothing issues based on a cover pic, or
> > movie.  I do _hear_ words sometimes, usually dialogue, and usually a
> > variation of a voice I know (My AP English teacher seems very popular with
> > fictional characters.)
> Interesting.  I tend to hear books in variants of my own voice.  I don't even
> hear characters' accents very well unless I make a conscious effort.
> I get pictures too, but not as detailed as Rebecca.  I mean, I have a few
> snapshots of street scenes in Middleton - outside the school, the old cross by
> the station, the gate of Hunsdon House - but I couldn't draw Granny's house, for
> example.  But these tend to be much the same every time I read a book, and it's
> very difficult to modify them even if I find they'r wrong on re-reading.
> That said, reading is primarily auditory for me.
> Philip.
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