Dan finds his voice for a new storytelling series
With many years of writing under my belt at this point, I have gained some perspective on what is now, most assuredly, my current and future career. I have certainly settled into a groove, as it were, and penning my bi-weekly blog is something I look forward to always. In fact, there are some weeks when I downright crave the intellectual stimulation and feeling of accomplishment that completing a blog entry elicits. It’s a great pick me up, and the writing style for these entries seems to come naturally. Most tasks involving the written word are like that for me, actually. For some reason, even though my physical body is nearly worthless, some higher power has seen fit to gift me with the ability to craft prose easily. Recently, though, I have been attempting to do something different and it’s proven much more difficult than I had initially thought. I will soon be debuting a new storytelling series for CreakyJoints called, what else, TalkingJoints, and learning how to speak my mind in the same fashion that I write my blog was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in recent memory.
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? If you asked one hundred people which was easier, talking or writing, I bet you every single one would tell you that talking was, by far, the less difficult thing to do. I would have been among that number, for even during interviews, talking is something I’ve never had difficulty doing. So, when I was approached about this new storytelling show, I figured it would be a piece of cake! If all I had to do was blab about me and my adventures for just a few minutes, I figured I’d be able to knock out a few episodes inside of an hour or two. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Recording a talk show where you must fill the entire time with you own voice is daunting.
Most of you are probably thinking that the difficult part is finding enough subject matter to fill the time, and making sure that there are no long silences or awkward pauses. That was my thought as well, and it turned out to be an unfounded fear. In reality, quite the opposite was true. I always ended up with way too much material for the short time allotted, and deciding what to cut was like trying to choose which child to give up – it was all quality banter, or, at least, I thought so. I even got into the habit of writing scripts beforehand so that I’d have notes to prompt myself if I forgot what was next on the agenda. It proved to be a fantastic tool to help keep the pieces short and sweet. It was when I finally sat down and listened to the recording of my voice that I realized this wasn’t going to be an easy task by any measure.
We’ve all experienced that phenomenon when you hear your own voice on a recording and it sounds nothing at all like what you expected. This is due to a well-known phenomenon where the sound our voice box produces bounces around inside of our skull and our eardrums hear a much different sound than what actually comes out of our mouths. Combine that with the fact that we often romanticize the sound of our voices (oh, I have such a deep, sexy, gravelly voice), and we end up with an extremely distorted notion of what our speaking voice sounds like. This is why some people don’t even recognize their own words when played a recording of their voice. I was not immune to this phenomenon, and the first thing that struck me when I heard my podcast played back was how much I thought I sounded like a munchkin from The Wizard of Oz. People have told me for years that I have a deep and soothing voice, but the only thing I heard on that first recording was a member of The Lollipop Guild.
Since I was already taken aback by the real sound of my voice, I had to listen for a minute or two to identify the bigger issue. I sounded like I was reading words off a page; it had no life whatsoever. At first, I thought it was just a fluke, and I recorded the show again, this time confident I’d licked the problem. Unfortunately, once again, as soon as I got past the actual sound of my voice, I realized I sounded like RoboCop reading someone his or her rights. God this was difficult! I had no idea how hard it was to sound natural when recording a monologue-style segment.
I tried for a week to record TalkingJoints with the proper intonation and feeling, to no avail. No matter what, parts always sounded like I was reading from a script. It was extremely discouraging, as I can usually accomplish anything I set my mind to. I was just about to give up when I decided to try something different. Instead of making a script and reading from the paper, I decided to try to record first and see what happened. So, I did just that, and it was like night and day. When I freed myself of having to follow along a script, word for word, things began to flow, and it sounded as natural as any normal conversation.
So, now, as have probably guessed, we will be debuting TalkingJoints here on CJ very soon. It’s going to be a short segment, just about 5 minutes, so it won’t require much of your time, but it will definitely be worth a listen. I have a million and one stories to tell about my life and the things that happen to me because of my disease. If you follow my blog, you’ve read a few, but I can promise you there’s nothing like hearing the tale direct from the horse’s mouth. My RA has put me into many situations that I probably would never have experienced if I were healthy, and it frequently results in comedic gold. Above all else, though, what I’ve discovered by doing TalkingJoints is that despite my disease, I experience many of the same things that normal, healthy, people do every single day. The only difference is that I see them from a different point of view. When TalkingJoints launches, come and listen and see for yourself just how amusing and heartwarming the world can be.