Sunday, December 2, 2012

In His Own Words

So it's December now and I don't have to wait any longer.

When Mercury Community Engagement Editor Diane Hoffman announced that the Town Square Bloggers would all be blogging about literacy to help the YWCA's Adult Literacy program, I was very enthusiastic.

Big fan of reading, you see.

You can still help out by adding your name below. They get $1 for every name and it costs you nothing:

But, as I wrote in my post earlier this month about my father reading Captain's Courageous to me, I also had another post in mind -- this one.

(You may have noticed that I also interviewed my sister, who teaches adult literacy, for last week's Sunday post, so this is obviously a family affair here at The Digital Notebook).

And last but perhaps best of all, I wanted to post about my mother's contribution to all this.

My mother's side of the family is the Welsh side, the Welsh and Cornish side to be precise, and she has always been very proud of her heritage.

It's my heritage as well and she passed that passion along to me.

So since we were kids, my mother used to get out an old worn record album around Christmas time (some of you may be old enough to know what an LP is) and put it on the turntable, scratches and all.

What came out of those speakers was a voice reading Dylan Thomas's Christmas Classic, "A Child's Christmas in Wales."

Dylan Thomas recording for the BBC
It wasn't just any voice, it was HIS voice.

As I wrote in the post about my dad, one of the wonders of literacy is how the mechanics of it help the reader hear a voice in their head, with all the pauses and inflections in the right places.

Many, many people listen to what used to be called "books on tape" in the old days. In fact our book blogger Michelle Karas recently gifted me with a collection of Bram Stoker's work read aloud.

This is only magnified when it is the author of the work doing the reading. If anyone knows where to pause and when to rumble, it's the author and Thomas does it awfully well.

It enchanted me and, to this day, I listen to this every year during the holidays. (I tried reading it aloud once to my in-laws, but it's more than 20 minutes long and, let's face it, I'm no Dylan Thomas.)

It meant so much to me that I convinced my wife to name our son Dylan because that name always evokes in me the perfect description of a young boy at Christmas.

So below is a video I made with the recording (wwwaaayyyyyyy more complicated than it should be by the way).

So if you've got 20 minutes to spare, give it listen.

It might just put you in the Christmas spirit.

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