Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reflection: Further Chronicles (and Audio)

Maintain a poker-facer and an expressive voice... That seems to be the trick of recording audio with a less-than-professional quality headset. If I so much as raise an eyebrow while I'm recording, or spread my cheek into a smile, the headset will bounce a bit and the sound will be recorded...
I picked a copy of Further Chronicles of Avonlea off the bookcase downstairs for two reason: 1) I knew it was public domain. 2) I was locked out and needed something to read! The piece that I ended up recording, and linking to here, is by far my favorite of the stories. Even so, there were lines that were hard to record because they didn't ring true for me. There's a character in the story who, years back, had broken off an engagement because she believed her fiancee's mother when she said her fiancee was merely infatuated with her youth and beauty -- which wouldn't last -- and that she had nothing, but nothing, else to offer.
Back in high school, I had a friend from India whose parents were incensed that she wanted to date an American; I think that they actually made a brief threat to disown her. But my friends spent six years convincing those parents that their relationship was sound, and at the end of that time, they were allowed to marry. As for why my friends wouldn't go against the parents' wishes -- well, part of it was because they were Ba'hai, and, while the Ba'hai faith prohibits arranged marriage, it does require parental consent. My friends were bound by what they believed. I honestly think either one of them would have -- like the girl in the story -- broken off their engagement if they believed they would be a lifelong burden to the other; yet I can't imagine either of them believing it. Going back to the story, it's hard for me to imagine a girl who says you're right, I have nothing in this world to offer, but for a fleeting beauty -- a girl who lacks the drive to fight that she's somebody. But there's a lot in this story I do like: It may be an archaic societal criticism, but it's societal criticism, nonetheless. Now, without further ado, here's The Little Brown Book of Miss Emily.