Writing by ear

In Kindergarten they didn’t know what to do with me. For weeks I shuffled between reading groups like a misshapen marble that doesn’t fit through the door. One day I was average, the next smart, then really smart, then not at all. “Okay, go to your reading groups,” the teacher would say and I’d stand right out there in the middle waiting to be noticed, my face burning red, my eyes casting for a net.

Alone, I read slow. Even without kids and a house to clean and dinners to make, it can take me months to finish a book. I read every word letting them roll along a cranial roller coaster pitching and tossing one after another after another until the loops connect and the ride is over.

I believe I have an issue with reading comprehension. Or that I am so much a visual learner that everything I read needs to be spun into pictures and made clear. This is what I enjoy about reading and this is how I write.

Notice the metaphors, they’re really going on in there, in here. I’m still watching the roller coaster plummet and rise.

I believe I have an issue with reading comprehension and an innate and strange understanding of language. Language comes to me on its own behalf, we’ve always been buddies. It’s like, there’s this deficit–understanding–and then there’s this overcompensation–reading s-l-o-w–and it works out to what I call “writing by ear”.

In high school I used to sit on the phone the night before a paper was due and write while simultaneously editing my friend’s assignment. “How does this sound?” she’d ask and I’d repeat it, think it, repeat, suggest something else.

I’m fascinated with the tools we use to create our work. To write a story, I need to work from a visual source either from the real world or yanked from the narrow hallways of my mind.

I should introduce you to my muse, she’s a trip.

How do you create? Where do the ideas spark? Do you think a deficit in one area can lead to better understanding of another? How so?


About E. Victoria Flynn

E. Victoria Flynn is a mother and a writer living in Southern Wisconsin. Published in a variety of venues, Victoria is currently writing the first in a series of three fantasy novels based on Cornish folklore. When not taking part in a shrieking dance party or engrossed in her own little fictions, Victoria is keen on art, the natural world and people unafraid to explore their own brilliance.
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6 Responses to Writing by ear

  1. Victoria,
    I love your metaphors, especially the cranial roller coaster. Reading should always be that fun.

    I’m a slow reader, too. I try, once in a while, to speed read, but it just isn’t as satisfying. On creating, I work a lot from images in my mind, but ideas often spark from one word, or a string of words, or a slight expression on a stranger’s face that says “there’s more here….”

    Lovely post.

    • pennyjars says:

      I like how you put that, Christi, that reading fast isn’t satisfying. That is a huge part of it, I can chow a gourmet chocolate, but read a book too fast? No way!

  2. kario says:

    I have a reading comprehension issue, too, but it is because I read too quickly. There is something about seeing the expanse of words across a page that revs my mind up to get to the finish line. When I can take a piece of paper and cover all but the line I’m reading, I can make better sense of it and pay more attention.

    My daughter is a beautiful reader, but only actually recalls what she has read if she was moving her body while reading. She paces, rocks in a rocking chair, or bounces on my exercise ball and her reading comprehension skyrockets.

    What a fun thing to explore!

    • pennyjars says:

      Again, I’m relating to chocolate–Something about seeing the expanse of the chocolate in the box that revs my taste buds up to get to the end, but with books it all moves in reverse. I can see how you would read like that, Kari. I speed read through last paragraphs of a chapter before bed, but it’s lost the next day and I have to go back anyway.

      You’re daughter amazes me. I’ve never heard of such a thing. How she can bounce on an exercise ball and keep her eyes on the page is incredible. Truly.

  3. Lisa says:

    Victoria, my husband is a very slow and one of the best, most sensitive readers I know. I read far too quickly and have to force myself to slow down. I envy you.

    This is a lovely post, one I’ll remember.


    • pennyjars says:

      Give your husband my regards, Lisa. I’m so glad to find out there are more slow readers out there. And I envy you too, I’d love to expand my reading list. It’s getting frightfully long!

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