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New Sounds, New Descriptions

January 17, 2009

Try something very simple…yet very challenging. Find a sound or group of sounds you have never really listened to, or that you haven’t heard in many years. Sit down, close your eyes, and listen. Listen for rhythm, tone, subtleties, and amplitude. Listen to how the sound moves, how its volume changes, how it informs you when the wind and distance start to sweep it away. Become so immersed that you embody the advice of Beat novelist Jack Kerouac (On The Road): “Be submissive to everything, opening, listening.”

Grab your journal or computer, and write what you experienced. When finished, go into a work-in-progress, or a story or essay you’d like to write, and find or develop a scene that involves listening. Either write the scene anew, instilling the depth you just experienced from your period of listening, or enhance an existing narrative with this deeper observation.

(From The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life, by Robert Yehling, to be published in Summer 2009 by Pen & Publish. To pre-order an advance, signed copy.)

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