My own personal narrator

August 7, 2008 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

When some people read, they hear a voice in their head. I guess it’s sort of like the read-along tapes I used to listen to when I was a kid—someone says the words as you see them, then there’s a “ding!” to tell you to turn the page. It doesn’t happen for me. My dad has a narrator and separate actors, so reading a book is like listening to a radio play for him. He has a hard time with the epic cast-of-thousands novels because he can’t keep the individual voices straight.

The thing I have a problem with is hearing the narrator in my head when I’m not reading. I find myself looking at things differently, seeing them as the author would.

For instance, right now I’m reading the new(ish) David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. I mostly read on the train, since my commute is about forty minutes, and when I put the book back in my bag, I hear his nebbish little voice in my head, commenting on everything–including myself.

“The woman on the train wore an ill-fitting dress shirt, ironed haphazardly, and black pants, which looked as if they had spent a few weeks crumpled on the floor of some beige-carpeted townhouse bedroom. I wondered if she was half-blind, or if she had simply given up on the niceties of business casual, intending to ride on the coattails of her official-looking government badge. Toothpaste stuck to the corner of her mouth. It reminded me of my mother.”

Stuff like that.

It’s a tough life, having a poor pastiche of David Sedaris narrate your general existence.

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