This I Believe: It's HOW you say it

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Wow, I haven't blogged since last December.....

Contemporary "This I Believe"

Ruth Kamps: Living Life with "Grace and Elegant Treeness"

Kamps' weathered sounding voice allowed me to connect her with the weathered tree she is describing in her story. Her voice sounded like the tree. I picture her sitting on her porch as she gazes at the ancient tree, drawing an allegory between it and herself. As she goes on to explain why her and the tree are similar, Kamp's voice tone rises, and she begins to stress more and more words, whereas in the beginning, her introduction and set-up flowed smoothly.

The moment when Kamps belief system begins to change, a day when she went to church to find solace after her mother's death and the priest would not unlock it for her, her voice enunciates every word. There is a definite sadness and age to her voice during this section. Then she takes a long pause, because the entire tone of the piece changes. Kamps then begins to talk about how nature gave her the comfort that religion once had but no longer did, her voice becoming softer and less harsh.

Deidre Sullivan: Always Go to the Funeral

This was the essay I moldeled my own "This I Believe" writing on, and I wondered if Sullivan's work was even more wrenching when read by the author herself.

The result: No. It was not wrenching at all. Wonder why? Sullivan's voice and tone. She read the essay like a bored 16 year old. She sounded like Darlene from "Roseanne". Her voice was slow and monotonous. What was such a touching story on paper for me (I cried as I read it last week) no seemed like no big deal. "So what?" I thought, as I listened to Sullivan's 2 minutes 30 seconds long Darlene impression. There was no stress or volume change at the important parts of the essay, such as when Sullivan was distrubed over the funeral of her 4th grade teacher.

Yes, there is no doubt that Sullivan's "Always Go to the Funeral" is a profound and moving essay, but only on paper (for me, anyway). Content is important, but how that content is presented is equally important.


Once again, I find that the subject at hand ties in with one of my theater classes. I am currently taking Oral Interpretation, which focuses on the HOW; how we communicate using language (verbal and non-verbal) and how effectively those communication techniques are in getting the message across.

There are many verbal controls that we have to be aware of when speaking, such as:









-sensory controls (sound effects)



Random and somewhat relevant:

I believe someone once said  communication is 30% of what you say, and 70% is how you say it. Which reminds me of a joke Eddie Izzard told a couple of years ago: President Kennedy was speaking in West Berlin, Germany in the 1960's when he said "Ich bin ein Berliner", which actually means "I am a donut" (Berliners are a German donut). But he said it with such force and confidence that the audience went nuts and applauded.

 (The story is not true; Kennedy did make the speech, but the phrase means "I am one with the Citizens of Berlin".....but Germany does makes "Berliners")

 Back to class

P.S. Covered the SHUPAC opening for my first audio story..and all the recordings came out perfect!!!!




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