Sound: Words and the Absence of Words – Becky Lin

Words tell a story beautifully and being accustomed to using such a tool, sometimes we try to squeeze too many words in. We try to cram every word we can into every last square inch of the page, of the second, in an attempt to better convey the story that we tend to forget how useful the absence of word is. Not every second has to be, much less can be, narrated. Written word isn’t able to convey the depth of silence and in our haste to spread information in the age of digitality, there is no room for silence. The ability to use sound to convey feelings, sensations, moments, and stories has been a tradition as old as the first spoken word and now we’re constantly surrounded by it. By words, narrations, cliche phrases, exaggerated melodramas, catch phrases, spewing from our tablets, laptops, and cellphones. We use spoken word more than ever, so much that sometimes we forget the silence. We forget how deeply silence (the absence of words) resonates. How much it amplifies what is said, and what isn’t.

I had never been aware of the extent to which sound plays a role in how things are presented and portrayed until I had to do the audio project for my Digital Storytelling class. It’s not only the words that spew from our mouths but also the whir of the dishwasher in the background, the squeaky fan up above, the way he angrily taps his foot, and the whine of the dog hiding underneath the dining room table. The words form the skeleton of the scene but, little things that simultaneously pitter-patter in the background constitute the meat and skin of the scene, piecing together the tone, the atmosphere, of the scene which in turn contribute to the work as a whole.

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One thought on “Sound: Words and the Absence of Words – Becky Lin

  1. meaganmthornton February 14, 2015 / 1:36 am

    I definitely agree that we have forgotten the impact of silence, at least I did until we had this project. As writers we get so caught up in the narration of the story we forget to pay closer attention to the other elements building the scene. So much of what we hear says so much more before any words are even spoken. -Erynn Pontius

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