Thoughts on Audio Storytelling

I just completed listening to “Moon Graffiti”. Wow, what a powerful story. Shutting my eyes and allowing my sense of hearing to take over, I was transported back to that event in July 1969. For me this event was real. My parents and I were on our way to the United States for my freshman year of college and stopped for a week in Athens, Greece. American Express had placed large televisions throughout Thesaloniki Square to broadcast the landing. At midnight I was one of the thousands of people on the square glued to the television watching the events as they transpired. In my innocence I never would have thought that an alternate reality might have occurred, other than successful landing.

Fast forwarding, over the years I have seen and witnessed multiple disasters and events were people have died. Having worked for the government for almost 40 years I have learned to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The speech by Richard Nixon notifying the world of the loss of the astronauts is a perfect example of that type of contingency planning. I also know that the astronauts, like all persons in the government heading into harm’s way, prepared last statements and letters to families and loved ones in the event that the worst becomes reality.

Listening to this audio story I was drawn in.  As it unfolded my mind had an internal dialogue in which many of my ghosts, worst fears, and less than wonderful memories were stirred.In my job, while on active duty, radio and the words and sounds that came over it were at times my only direct contact with my troops on a daily basis. From miles away I viscerally shared in their excitement, joy, and terror. There is nothing quite is wrenching as hearing a “Nine-Line” call for medevac and and hearing the noise in the background, the voice of the caller, and personally knowing the person who the call is being made for.

I found that the sound effects in the story served as cues and clues that helps me to anticipate what was about to transpire. This story reminded me how much we give up by restricting ourselves to watching movies and television only. I think that sound, as it stimulates the mind, without visual distraction, is an extremely powerful medium that needs to be rediscovered. Listened to the audio files in parts one, two, and three of this week’s assignment have rekindled a forgotten fascination with audio that I had in my youth.



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