Wednesday 13 March 2013

On shaping words

Two very different pieces on bringing words into form:

First, Cliff Curtis, Notes on being thoroughly edited: the New Zealand writer on the editing process for his first full-length novel. The book is set in small-town New Zealand at the start of the 20th century, and the ex-National Library staffer inside of me was pleased to see Curtis mentioning using Papers Past to demonstrate to his editor the language people in 1902 could plausibly been using.

And then Rachel Kolb, Seeing at the speed of sound - on the experience of lip reading:

Some people are all but impossible for me to lipread. People with thin lips; people who mumble; people who speak from the back of their throats; people with dead-fish, unexpressive faces; people who talk too fast; people who laugh a lot; tired people who slur their words; children with high, babyish voices; men with moustaches or beards; people with any sort of accent. 
Accents are a visible tang on people's lips. Witnessing someone with an accent is like taking a sip of clear water only to find it tainted with something else. I startle and leap to attention. As I explore the strange taste, my brain puzzles itself trying to pinpoint exactly what it is and how I should respond. I dive into the unfamiliar contortions of the lips, trying to push my way to some intelligible meaning.

No comments: