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07 December 2006


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Mary Scriver

This is a notion that's been bumping around in my head for quite a while. Writing (like speaking and hearing and looking et al) is a matter of patterning. There are the story-patterns of narrative, the patterns of metaphor and image, the patterns of a sentence and the intense patterning of poetry. People respond to the patterns they can perceive and the theory is that an education of whatever kind will help you to see and even name different patterns of sound (rhythm and rhyme) and meaning. Sometimes the best way to become sensitive to such patterns is to memorize.

But culture also is behind education and the learning of patterns -- even determining which ones are there, which ones "count," and so on.

And now I think quite a bit about earliest childhood and the training of the senses -- indeed the building of the synapses that support pattern.

Print depends upon the ease with which one "knows" or associates sounds with the alphabet. Just as some people displace sounds to colors or "see" numbers as colors or tastes, there are a few people who look at print and don't "hear" the sounds. Some can't associate the two at all, so never really learn to read. Some experts suggest that as many as ten per cent of the population as a whole is simply missing whatever it takes to look at "cat" and hear k-aaa-tt or associate that with the animal. Since things go in continuums more than they do in dichotomies, I presume that people are "differently abled" when it comes to this skill, but also that there are many people who COULD learn if they were helped a bit.

Right now our youth culture is bonkers for sound patterns of a fractal and nearly chaotic nature. They like loud -- I can't tell you a whole lot more about some of it.

These thoughts are prompted in part by reading Bruno Nettl's ideas about ethnomusicology, a discipline he helped invent and develop, and his thoughts about people who listen for Beethoven when they are presented with "Carnatic" music and therefore hear nothing. It's like watching for eagles when the environment is full of robins, or vice versa, to escape the value judgment in every image.

I'll try to develop this further on a blog.

Prairie Mary

PS. Thanks for your votes in the Blog Blast!!


Number 9 is spot on! Few people could have said it better. Just one more thing, many would-be writers/poets think they were born with a voice. No. A voice is either patiently learnt or painfully ferreted out.

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