Yew and Me and Audio Makes Three

Yew've dropped your skirt
(C) Cathy Plourde

I’ve been listening to more audiobooks than ever before, or, spending time bushwhacking the back yard–both of these help me ignore the headaches. Due to a concussion, I’ve not been able to read, spend much time on a computer, or hold on to a thought for very long–much less two or three at a time. Not unusual, I’m told.   The condo’s landscaping contractors just shake their heads but kindly remove the mounds of branches I’ve conscientiously chopped up into pieces no longer than 3 feet or so. The back yard needed air and headspace, as do I.

With wireless headphones and a book, it’s a way to block out without checking out.If I like the voice of the reader, I’m happy to look for more of their work (Tavia, it’s been really fun, and, uh, yeah, I agree with the 2017 Audie judges–a well-deserved award as Best Narrator!)

Some of the non-fiction has been too hard to stay with, sometimes requiring complex writing that feels like building blocks. If I’ve missed a key part of the construction, I’m lost. Fiction is more comfortable right now, which is a reflection of how my brain is doing these days. If the non-fiction feels like ‘building blocks,’ fiction is more like fabric. Even when the weave is complex, it’s more forgiving and it lets my brain fill in the holes as needed. And If I really missed something, I can go back and listen again.

Audiobooks help me feel that while I’m not really able to get work done–this entry is likely all of the screen time I’ll have headspace for today– I am gently waking up my head while paying attention to the craft of writing.  As I walk the dog, or pull weeds, I listen to sentence structure and I note successful dialogue. I hear voice habits, or when an odd word choice gets repeated.  I consider arc, tension, easter eggs.  I study character development and foils. I’m put off by painstaking adjectives. I also believe the performance of the narrator can boost quality, too, covering the sins of the writer.

I’m determined that this forced time ‘off’ is not to be wasted. Fortunately, the Rhode Island public libraries have many many more books for me to discover.

Unfortunately, there is only one more yew in the yard to attack with my beloved loppers.


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