Thursday, August 10, 2006

Literary Radio

One of the most intriguing qualities of WordPlay is its embrace of the borderland between literary and oral literature. In a literate society, the beauty of being read to leaves us as soon as we outgrow our toddler beds. But programs such as this bring the voice back into reading, enriching our relationship with the books we read. I recall reading that Afghanistan has a remarkably high "illiteracy" rate, something like 80 or 90%, but I also know that the people of Afghanistan know their nation's poetry by heart, its stories by heart, and celebrate them in long tellings and festivals.

Not to romanticize illiteracy as it certainly has economic benefits in the technological world. However, as a writer, does it matter to me whether my words are read by mind or recited by heart? No. Literacy of the heart, that achieved by listening and carrying the words in one's body as opposed to one's bag, has a beautiful warmth for me. Perhaps when we share writing on the air, perhaps it goes directly to the heart.

Warmly, Laura

No comments: