This afternoon, I recorded an essay about my face and my mother and I have to say, on this very hot day with a storm threatening and taunting all day, reading my own words took a lot out of me.
The first version which I sent to the public radio producer yesterday was read too fast, she said. I needed to have more pauses. The piece was already long although I’d trimmed probably a quarter of it already, and I worried that at 5:17 it would be too long to air. That doesn’t matter, she said, “Because the subject is heavier it will sound more natural if it’s spoken a little slower.”
So I recorded it again, in my office with the windows shut and the fan turned off so there wouldn’t be any buzzing or kids on the street yelling about their lost balls, and there were times when I was reading, remembering my mother and her beautiful face, when I wanted to cry, making me realize there’s a reason I’d read it fast the first time. We find ways to protect ourselves without even knowing that’s what we are doing.