Monday, 15 June 2009

tell me about that time...

I watched a charming little film last night, La lectrice. I think only the French could make an entire film about the seductive powers of literature, but especially the power of reading aloud - that fabulous frisson created between two people when one reads to another. Or even when one reads to a larger audience. I can only really think of The Princess Bride as another great film with storytelling at its heart, but it only really uses storytelling as a vehicle to tell the story - if that makes sense - not as a theme for exploration, like La lectrice.

I love it when someone reads to me and I love reading aloud. I think it stems from childhood and having parents and grandparents who read to me as well as attending a school where the teacher read aloud to the students. Certainly, context changes everything. For if you are two lovers in bed reading to each other, there is a kind of comfort, a vulnerable familiarity which is completely different to the electric frisson of one potential lover reading to another - before any physical connection has occurred. Even still, the tenderness of a parent reading to a child, or a friend reading to a friend, or the intellectual stimulation of a teacher reading to a student, all different, yet equally potent emotions tied up with the art of reading aloud.

I don't know when or why we stopped reading to each other. We still read, of course, but it's become such an intensely personal thing. Even when we participate in book clubs or discuss a book amongst us, the actual experience of reading the book still takes place on an individual level. Only the discussion and analysis is shared. Why not a reading aloud book group?

In light of this deficit, I'm hosting a story reading night at our salon [london] event in August. I think it would be great, if even perhaps a little regressive, to have a storytelling evening - that feeling of sitting around the campfire and going back to more primitive entertainment - an evening inspired by Homer and the oral tradition. I haven't collected all my story-tellers yet so if you want to be involved, let me know. Read your own story or not, just come and read.


J. Harker said...

And now I curse the damned ocean between here and there.

Phoenicia said...

If we had an inflated expenses budget, you can be sure we'd fly you over...if that's any consolation.