A reader’s perspective of feeling not reading.
Ann Etter wrote a wonderful blog last week about senses (check it out here) and it made me think which one is my favorite. Kim and I are getting ready to go backpacking for the weekend and though it causes a bunch of anxiety in regards to walking away from convenance and hoping that everything was packed (last time I forgot the fuel for the stove meaning cold meals- yuck!), it also is such a wonderful thing to connect with…nothing. No cell phones, no social media, no television, nothing but us and what we are doing in that very moment all because our senses are engaged. Yeah there is 30-40 pounds strapped to your back but it isn’t a chore. Being in the wilderness has that way of making time irrelevant. The senses engage with the smells, the feel, the sounds, the sights of nature and it’s as if time passes without even knowing it has. It is the perfect outlet for getting lost in the moment. Though I have to admit one of the funniest scenes I read was in Jenny Frame’s Royal Rebel when Lennox King took Princess Rozala backpacking. It was the perfect description of someone who hasn’t grown up with such activities. I digress though, because what I want to know is if it is possible to have one sense be a favorite over others? Do authors have a favorite? I wonder that sometimes, but sometimes stories reads so perfectly that I am there, lost in the pages of the story with time zipping by without my awareness because an author has engaged me so incredibly well. They are showing me not telling me the story and I think it is a gift because they have engaged all my senses to allow me to experience everything along with the characters. It is the blending of all those senses that sucks me in and allows me to get lost. That happened when I read Hal (The Duelist Trilogy Book 1). I found myself wrinkling my nose as she walked through the part of town where the sewage and trash was more prevalent, shivering from cold as she sat on her horse injured, tired, and filled with sadness. Hearing the horses hooves as they galloped toward her. Each scene seemed to engage me fully and it was amazing to get lost in Hal’s world.
If I had to choose a story to represent a specific sense this is what I would come up with, but realize this is just one sense and most of these authors, if they have engaged that one so incredibly well, they most likely have engaged all of them because they are that amazing. So don’t just pick up these stories (and you really should pick up all of them) because that sense may be your favorite, pick it up and then let me know if you remember that standing out as well.
I hate wine. Scratch that, I don’t appreciate wine- to me it all tastes alike. I was pretty ticked off when I found out that the flavors that people claim to taste when enjoying a glass of wine (I can’t taste them) aren’t really there- it is just an essence that peaks on the taste buds instilling a similarity. (That was a bunch of BS and I am hoping a wine person will jump in here and actually tell me what is up!). But in Jocelyn Powers’ Clarity there was a wonderful scene when Andi teaches Julianna the nuances of wine tasting starting with a glass full of leather! I get that! And when I was reading that scene I was there with the two of them sticking my nose into glasses and actually smelling the leather.
I’m not sure if it is touch or feel but that sensation that runs up your arms and gives you shivers. Or how about rocking your world- literally! In the opening of Fletcher Delancey’s The Caphenon a spacecraft is falling from the sky and screaming above the skyline of the city. Now I’ve had a chance to see a jet go super-sonic and it was a thrilling experience. Something that is actually felt along with heard and seen. Could you image a space craft shaking your home, building, body as it passed above? I can’t even compare in writing how well written this actually is. I mean glass was raining from the sky as all the window shattered and the earth was shaking from the force! It is incredibly well done and as I was reading it I was cowering slightly trying to move into that protective shelter from the force of the feeling.
I grew up with classical music and I remember standing beside my Dad both of us pretending to be conducting the beautiful music playing from the speakers. Hearing certain pieces puts me right back to those moments. Can you really capture sound by writing it on a page? Karin Kallmaker did in Paperback Romance. The scene in the chapel in Italy (so sorry if I am screwing that up as I am doing this from memory as I am away from my beloved books at the moment) is so beautifully written that it just sucks the reader in from the start. Seeing the beauty of the chapel, the orchestra, the feel of people waiting in anticipation. But the actual conduction of the piece- I actually heard it. The ups and downs, the individual instruments, the meaning of the piece is brought to life on the pages and I actually heard it as I was reading it. Amazing!
I’m going to save taste and sight for next time. Look at me being all teasing like! But what comes alive for you? What LesFic stories either all together puts you there with the author showing you and not just telling you or by individual sense stands out? Share!