Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Touching the Senses: Listen, I Have a Story to Tell You...

Perhaps the reason sound plays such a vital roll in my life and my fiction is because I was born deaf. Yes, this is true. For eight months I was unable to hear. It had gotten to the point where my parents were about to start me in whatever classes they can do for the deaf to be able to learn how to communicate and simply be able to survive on a better level as they grow. I remember my mother telling me about how part of the teaching would have including my hand on somebody’s throat when they talked, etc. Not even sure, way old school, long time ago; I’d have to ask Fred Flintstone about this, since he was a neighbor…ahem. Nonetheless, story goes that one day my mother dropped a spatula and my head jerked in the direction of the sound. Somehow, miraculously or just a late bloomer, I could hear.


Music and simply the aesthetics of Sound Itself often play a paramount role in my fiction. I like to touch all the senses, but know sound holds an extra special place in my heart, or at least my ears. Here’s a sample of one of my takes on ambient sound, the sounds of nature--out there--where a mysterious patch of trees with insidious motivations resides, though nothing has yet been revealed.

Let’s join photographer, Terrance Blank, as he takes it all in:

I continued to take pictures, really fascinated by the luminescent quality of the bone white trees as the late afternoon sun glimmered off of them. An ambience of otherworldliness permeated my perceptions. It even registered in my ears, a buzzing, hypnotic drone, the hum of nature, of thousands of small sounds gathered as mass, as something of substance, yet still tiny and indistinct: the undercurrent of life; of dirt, foliage and sky; of insects and animals unseen; of slowly evolving shadows and that something more that defines silence that is not silent, its tongue is simply of a language that no human can understand.

“Shadows and Tall Trees” excerpt © John Claude Smith

 The world is always speaking to us, it's simply a matter of being tuned in to the proper channels; even if we cannot make out the language, it's good to listen fully, even to the silence...
Now, let me get back to the WIP while you give the flowers in the vase, yes, that one, over there, you give them a listen and report back to me.



  1. You're brilliant. You have such a way with words, this was visceral, but fey at the same time.

    I'm a tart for contrast.

  2. Thank you so much, Saranna. Coming from you, this truly means a lot! ;-) YAY!

    Love contrast as well.