Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lyrical Story Telling

I'm a huge fan of Audio books, I'm listening to one right now as I paint the first issue of the new Elf-Fin comic – in this instance it is a Stephen King novel called Lisey's Story.

It takes time to paint, and the time can fly past very quickly as you moosh around the paint for hours. Tt's only a small space you work on for that extended period, and sometimes those few 3-5 min songs don't cut it, even the 1-2 hour musicals can be over in too quickly a time. But the spoken novel can sometimes take well over 20 hours to tell. So here is a journey that I can experience that is in tune with the timing processes of creating my artwork.

It used to be that I would refuse to listen to an audio book till I'd first read the book. I did this because I liked my own voice – created in my head – for each of the characters, and somehow, the characters would always be so much more alive in my own head than when listening to a spoken book. It was also good to read it first because sometimes I did not like the reader's voice (even with an actor such as James Spader whose film work I love, but who I cannot stand listening to when he's reading a book... I've still not listened to it all the way to the end). I lookat the audio book as my way of revisiting a book I liked and had read once already, but with the lazy ease of replaying a favorite musical. I have some audio books that I listen to again and again (like The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham), almost yearly because they are so beautiful or amazingly crafted, or they move me so.

After my first relationship ended after 11 years and we divided our goods, we made a decision that all the printed books went to my then partner, and all the audio books came with me. After that time, with an empty bookshelf in my lounge room, the need or experience to have the printed book lost its meaning to me, and I plunged head first into experiencing audio books as a first time listener/reader of the works. This has been an interesting discovery, for I'm now totally at the mercy of the story twists and turns in a way I'd never been before. This can be fun and exhilarating in a new way. However I know I've lost the experience of having my own voice attached to each character by reading it as a book first.

This experience for me of audio books originated with childhood musical "book and record" stories. These were little book/albums that had lovely picture-books and a vinyl record with the story either spoken or sung (or both). I remember some of them only partially, but remember them fondly:

Segments from Thumbelina:

Thumbelina Thumbelina yes that's me
Thumbelina Thumbelina full of glee
A cup of tea will be my lake, a boat of petals we can make
Thumbelina Thumbelina oh how glad I am
Thumbelina Thumbelina oh how glad we are
Thumbelina Thumbelina oh how glad I am
I'm me.

Sleep well my pretty little bird
Cherish the songs that we have heard
Together, You and I
Fly up high, in the stars so high.

Segments from Hansel and Gretel:

I drop little pebbles as I walk along
with every little pebble dropped i sing this song
Please little pebble where ever I roam
Please oh please help us find our way home.

Segments from Blinky the Lighthouse Ship:

Blink blink what do you think, i have a friend that goes blinkety blink
What do you think, i have a friend who goes blinkety blink

He blinkety blinks with all his might
Blinkety blinks the day and night
He blinks for all the ships to see
Blinky Blinky, that's me.

The old north wind gave a party, for he was a very merry chap
the rain pitter pattered, the lightning struck, and the thunder went clap clap.

I think these may still at my parents' place. I'll see if they are there, so I can record them and listen to these wonderful children stories and musical numbers as I work on the comic. If not at my parents home, I'll be looking to hunt them down.


Michelle said...

Wow, what memories I have of these Read-Along Adventure books! I used to listen to the same one! I hope my parents still have them somewhere. Blinky the Lighthouse ship was probably my favorite, but I did love them all.

Jozef said...

Since originally posting this, I have checked with my parents, and they didn't have them. I was so sad... TILL I found out that my sister had them. I was all happy again. Only problem is, I don't have a turntable to record them..., now I'm sad again... lol.

I'll have to organise with a friend at some stage that still has a turntable to record them on tape. Of course. My ideal situation would be to get them digitised so I can listen to them on either a CD or with my ipod.

Michelle said...

That would be amazing if you could do that! I have a 2 year old son of my own now and I wish he could grow up listening to it as I did! Let me know if you're ever able to digitize it - would love to purchase a copy from you if possible! :)

notfunnyatallever said...

I found this while looking for the lyrics to the songs on the Thumbelina record that I remember from my childhood. It was such a dark story and the words haunt me.

"I walk till I'm weary, I'm sad and I'm dreary...I shall die, yes I shall die, here...under the sky..."

I don't know if I remember them correctly.

Black Mermaid Productions said...

I wonder if yours and Jozef's record is one and the same. And yes, there are parts of the Thumbelina story which are quite sad and dark.

Jozef said...

I now have those lost recording transferred into MP3s. I got a record player that could translate the music into MP3 files so I could play them on my computer. Oh, and my sister had the albums all this time, but did not realise it.... what a relief.

Here is the Thumbelina song lyrics in total:

"No home, no bed, to lay my head
No food to eat, no shoes for my feet
I've walked till I'm weary, I'm sad and I'm dreary
I need some place snug, a kiss and a hug
Or else I shall die, yes, I shall die
Here... under the sky"

Leann said...

One of my fondest childhood memories is Thumblina read along... I still sing this song all the time! Wish I could hear that one again..

Leann said...

One of my fondest childhood memories is Thumblina read along... I still sing this song all the time! Wish I could hear that one again..