Reasons to read your work aloud, a re-form of D. Wallace Peach

I have an irksome sensitivity
to the sounds of words
and
the rhythm of phrases and sentences.
When I search for the right word,
it’s not just the meaning
I’m chasing.
I’m looking
for the right number of syllables,
the sharpness
or softness
of the consonants.
As I nestle a word into a sentence,
I listen for the subtlety
of alliteration,
a rhythm
in
the
flow
of
the
words
that form phrases,
phrases into paragraphs.

Photo by olia danilevich on Pexels.com

© D. Wallace Peach

From “16 Reasons to read your work aloud,” by D. Wallace Peach. Re-formed by Chel Owens.

“The bad times don’t go away just because times are good. We say these things build character; they make us who we are. And that’s true. But that doesn’t mean they don’t suck. It doesn’t mean that winter isn’t cold.”

-R. Eric Thomas, Here For It: Or How to Save Your Soul in America

(Language warning. Don’t read if you don’t like the word ‘shit.’)

“I happened to mention this to a hypnotist I saw many years ago, and he looked at me very nicely. At first I thought he was feeling around on the floor for the silent alarm button, but then he gave me the following exercise, which I still use to this day. Close your eyes and get quiet for a minute, until the chatter starts up. Then isolate one of the voices and imagine the person speaking as a mouse. Pick it up by the tail and drop it into a mason jar. Then isolate another voice, pick it up by the tail, drop it in the jar. And so on. Drop in any high-maintenance parental units, drop in any contractors, lawyers, colleagues, children, anyone who is whining in your head. Then put the lid on, and watch all these mouse people clawing at the glass, jabbering away, trying to make you feel like shit because you won’t do what they want—won’t give them more money, won’t be more successful, won’t see them more often. Then imagine that there is a volume-control button on the bottle. Turn it all the way up for a minute, and listen to the stream of angry, neglected, guilt-mongering voices. Then turn it all the way down and watch the frantic mice lunge at the glass, trying to get to you. Leave it down, and get back to your shitty first draft.”

Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life