A very early memory of mine is my mother reading to me from The Arabian Nights. I can barely recall the stories, but I can still see the book – an thick ornate volume full of exotic pictures, deep oranges and wild patterns, kids on elephants, and sultans with big hats. Better though, I remember the sensation of being read to. I still love it, and I love to read aloud. In adulthood this love grew into a love for good radio and sometimes audiobooks, if they are well done.
I recently found a CD set of the Best American Stories of 2002, edited by Sue Miller. Richard Ford reads his story, "Puppy" on it. It is the first time I had heard Ford's voice, it seemed to match his writing, just a bit of twang, eloquent but never pretentious, stripped down even, like his writing. There is also a Michael Chabon story, "Along the Frontage Road", this one read by an actor. The thing is, that voice for me is now Chabon's, I guess until I actually hear Chabon read. This happened with a favorite audio collection I own, American Classics, stories by Updike, Carver and Cheever. I have listened to them repeatedly. I love hearing Updike read his classic, "A and P" - one of my favorite shorts of all time. There is an actor reading Carver's stories, but I can't remember his name. It doesn't matter, because for me it is Carver. The guy they got so matched Carver's tone of writing that I couldn't imagine it being anyone else.
I am thinking of audio stories this morning because I just finished listening to this month's issue of Bound Off. It is a monthly literary audio magazine of the highest quality. I am not just saying this because they have accepted a couple of my stories (but hey, that makes me like them even more). This month's podcast has a chilling story written by Vincent Louis Carrella, "The Killing of Clyde" - the language is gorgeous, a mix of southern gothic and Texas twang. Best of all, it is read by the author, who has a great voice.
Check it out. It's the first story in the podcast.
In the fiction section I have links to my Bound Off recordings. Listen to them, then you'll have my voice in your head – and I think that's a good thing. Though, to be honest, I look forward to having someone else read my fiction aloud, just to see what kind of cadence they bring to it.