Saturday, July 22, 2006

In your head

continuing our Where in the World is Octopus Grigori series . . . .

When I read Mrs. Octopus's blog, I hear her voice as I read the words. The same thing happens when I read letters from friends. It's just like on TV or in the movies, when someone is reading a letter or a note and there's a voiceover. The voiceover is always somewhat eerily patient and calm, though, as if the author of the letter or note, now a disembodied voice, is exhausted, weary. And then you have those moments where the voiceover of the author reaches a funny part of her letter and chuckles just a bit, and the reader simultaneously nods his head and chuckles to himself a little. But the reader doesn't chuckle too much -- because that would be weird. The reader is always somewhat restrained in how much they can chuckle at the disembodied voice's jokes. These scenes are always marked by a tinge of sadness.

When I read the blogs of people I don't know, I end up substituting a familiar voice, maybe a friend's voice, or an anonymous voice from TV or the radio, for the voice of the blog author. (I do a similar thing when I read books and have to imagine a house described in the book -- I always, without thinking, select a house that I've been in before, usually a friend's house, and use that as the mental image of the house in the book.) I usually hear legal opinions in the voice of some old, finicky person. I'm not sure in what voice I hear appliance instructions, street signs, or newspaper articles. Although, now that I think about it, if the byline reveals the gender of the author, I will hear the article in an anonymous gender-appropriate voice. I'm having a hard time thinking of what voice I hear when I read headlines. It's likely a middle-aged male voice. Ditto with text that crawls at the bottom of a news program's screen.

Anyhow, I wonder what this blog sounds like in someone's head who doesn't know me and has never heard me speak. I have no control over what I'll sound like in the head of a stranger -- he could have chosen to hear these words in his head as the voice of Ronald Reagan, Donald Duck, or maybe Casey Kasem. If I had an option to choose, as one would a font, I think I might opt to have the words on this blog heard in the heads of readers as the voice of John F. Kennedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or perhaps Peter Lorre.

Update: I just reread this post, and I can't quite tell what voice I hear when I read my own writing. I kind of want to say that I don't hear any voice, but that's not quite right.


K. Widge(r) said...

No kidding, I started reading this and it was my friend Todd's voice.

K. Widge(r) said...

This is good stuff.

Anonymous said...

What the f are you talking about. Israel is going crazy right now with our country's full blessing and you're talking about disembodied voices?! what do you have to say about that?

Octopus Grigori said...

Widge: Thanks. And thanks for visiting.

Anon: I know, I am going fucking soft. This is what happens when you move to the suburbs.

I do appreciate your slap to the face. Every now and then I need a wake-up call. That said, I don't think my most recent post will make you very happy.

I will get my act together and get my head out of my ass -- soon.