Radio Reading Service is a “not for profit” community organisation that delivers news, information & entertainment for the Print Disabled. A Print Disabled person is anyone who cannot see, hold, understand or access every day printed literature. The Radio Reading Service is on air to turn print into sound for anyone who finds it difficult to read conventional print. This NZ organisation delivers 24/7.
I chose this logo because the tag line is brilliant. Although ‘through sound comes sight’ targets a particular group of people, I think it applies to everyone. Hearing words demands the listener use imagination to ‘see’. When I write for radio, I use words in a script to direct the inclusion of certain sounds – a teacup clattering on a saucer, a tennis ball hitting a racket, the crashing of waves in addition to dialogue. I use the sounds to evoke an ambience or a place to enable the listener to inhabit the scene, identify with the characters and engage with the story.
This brings me to my adventure. I am going to Radio Dundalk to record a short story. Although I have spoken on radio before and worn the headphones when speaking into a mic, reading my own story with a producer and studio staff is new to me.
My first time on radio must be thirty years ago when another writer and I had a four-minute interview about writing and the plays we were producing. The next time was not on radio but it was the recording of a play for radio in a studio in Kells. I was the writer, director, and producer but I had a brief speaking part.
My next adventure in radio will be different again. I will read my short story called Letting Go. Bearing in mind what I said above, I have to find a way of conveying the different characters through my voice. An actor I am not. I have no time to pick an actor’s brains or receive advice from a voice coach. I know that a recording can stop and start, lines can be repeated and different words emphasised and it’s a good job because I know I will flub a few times.
The main character is male. I can deepen my voice to convey him but whether I will maintain is another question. The other characters may be difficult. In the story, the main character speaks with characters who are Spanish, Irish, German, and English. He hears them speak in English although he knows they speak in their native tongue. The story structure means that listeners will know who is speaking but I still need to make clear who is who (or should that be whom?). Whenever I try to speak with an accent, it slips and ends up sounding a mix of Welsh, and Pakistani, and Liverpudlian or a broad Yorkshire dialect, anything but what it should be.
I have been invited to chat for a few minutes about the story. It is fiction but there are historical facts within it.
It will also be my first trip to Dundalk. The drive does not look arduous and should take no longer than an hour and a half. The difficult part is finding one’s way around a strange town and parking where one is supposed to park. I am lucky that a friend has agreed to accompany me.
I hope to have photographs which I will post as soon as I can.