Telling stories

I haven’t made a whole ton of progress in my writing longhand project. I have taken some days off to write in my personal journal and others to finish listening to audiobooks, which I have been using as a strategy to make my workday easier.

At my workplace, no one minds headphones, presumably so long as they don’t get in the way of actual work. I haven’t heard of anyone getting reprimanded for wearing them, and it’s rare for anyone to find me at my desk listening to nothing. Until recently, I’ve always had music on. Then I remembered those years ago when I got into running in the evenings and took audiobooks along with me to break up the monotony of the streets in my neighborhood.

Many of the tasks I perform at my job require a minimum of concentration, and most of them are repetitive and completely mindless. It’s easy to listen to a story as I copy and paste. However, to be certain that I don’t get distracted, I’ve only listened to familiar favorites so far. I’m afraid to get too engrossed in a new story, but I think it’s something I’ll have to try before too long.

I’ve listened to BBC Radio’s rendition (technically a radio play and not an audiobook) of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere featuring James McAvoy and Natalie Dormer; and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, narrated by the author himself and a lovely cast of actors. These have been the first stories I’ve listened to that were cast with multiple actors. I am now listening to Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, and this one is a traditional audiobook with only one person doing all the storytelling.

I like when each character has its own actor lending their voice. It’s easy to fall into the flow of the story. When I’m on the way to or from work, I often close my eyes and envision the scene as it’s being described to me. I also enjoy when one person voices the entirety of the work. It requires more effort to differentiate one character from another, and I appreciate that. It also makes me think of a parent reading to a child at night (though I certainly wouldn’t pick Perdido Street Station as a tale to tell to children) and the child delighting at Mother or Father’s creativity in bringing the characters to life.

I have many more old favorites I could get through before I decide to embark on something new. I had listened to a couple books of Tad Williams’s Shadowmarch series in audio form before I ever read them, and I enjoyed that greatly. However, I was jogging then and not trying to do office work. I’ll have to give it a try to see how it goes. I can always save them for the commute if they’re too distracting for the workday.

 

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