Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Sound and Rhythm

by Caren Crane

Last night, my daughter and I watched "The Return Of the King" for, like, the hundredth time. She commented how much she loves the music and the beautiful voices singing. Huh? As I've mentioned before, I don't really notice movie soundtracks. But I listened as we watched this time and realized she was right. The music set the tone for each scene and rose and fell with the action.

Now, I read all the Lord Of the Rings books (along with other Tolkein books) when I was a young teenager. I didn't have the benefit of visuals except the ones in my imagination. I certainly had no soundtrack to cue me as to what was happening. I couldn't imagine ever having the technology to bring Tolkein's gorgeous, epic tales to the screen in a way that did them justice. Back in the day, I constructed the story in my head, the way I always had. The way I still do today.

My husband doesn't read this way. He sort of speed-reads - scans the words and picks up the main ideas. Not just for boring non-fiction stuff, either. He treats his favorite fiction this way! My reading is a fully-realized, three-dimensional process. To me, skim-reading would be like sitting down to a gourmet dinner and just sniffing each succulent dish as it passes by. Or maybe chewing the food without swallowing. I want to savor each syllable, linger over the word choices, delight in the turns of phrase.

When I told my husband that, he looked at me like I was a squirrel a few nuts shy of a load. I learned then that not everyone "reads" like I do, creating voices and accents for each character and picturing each scene, outfit and piece of furniture. Just as some people need a soundtrack to heighten their movie experience, I need to create the world in the book at hand to really enjoy my reading.

What about you? Do you read aloud in your head or simply skim the words? Do you provide a soundtrack and visuals for your reading or just grab the main ideas? I'm always fascinated by how different it is inside everyone's heads!

58 comments:

Shannyn said...

Hi - I am definitely a movie in my head reader. As a teacher is was something I always tried to instill in my students. It's why the book is ALWAYS better than the movie. It's why we are not only good readers, but we love to read

Shannyn said...

I was having problems posting and when I retyped my comment... Boy, look at those typos! I look like a pretty poor teacher now. That'll teach me to proofread

Caren Crane said...

Well, Shannyn, you may not approve of your spelling, but you can't fault your rooster-nabbing abilities! Congrats on snagging the Golden Rooster. Is it your first time?!

I agree with you that the movies they make have trouble comparing with the movies we create in our heads. I always cringe a little when I hear they are adapting a book I love for film.

Sometimes, though, like with the Lord Of the Rings movies, I am quite pleasantly surprised! While things were a bit different than I imagined long ago, what they created was so wonderful, I could hardly complain. And the Orcs were even uglier than I thought. *g*

Shannyn said...

I left my first comment earlier in the week, but I've been lurking for quite a while. It's my first time with the rooster, though. (I bet that's a statement none of us thought we'd ever write)

Kirsten said...

Congratulations, Shannyn on nabbing the rooster! The gals Down Under were getting a little too familiar with him! ;-)

Caren -- I'm in your husband's camp. A true skim reader. I read for story, flavor, and feeling, but not really the words themselves. I guess I'm just too impatient. I always want to know what happens next. *g*

I really admire the discipline of the true readers, like yourself. But on the other hand, reading massive quantities in short periods of time sure came in handy in law school!

jo robertson said...

Fascinating topic, Caren. I, too, am fascinated by how people read.

I couldn't bear to speed-read. In fact, I can hardly resist the urge, even during pleasure reading, to pick up a pencil and mark my favorite parts! I will read and reread by those sections just to feel the words again.

And I almost NEVER read to find out how the story ends. The journey is the whole thing for me.

Which is why I don't usually mind if someone tells me the ending.

jo robertson said...

Shannyn! I forgot to congratulate you on capturing the rooster. Is he residing states-side or Down Under now?

As I said before, I LOVE how you spell your name!

jo robertson said...

And btw, Caren, do you know that some children, usually very poor readers, do NOT make pictures in their heads when they read? We have to help them learn how to do that. They often simply decode words that have no visual counterparts in their brains.

When we think how reading enriches the visual texture of our lives, it's sad to think about that.

Shannyn said...

Hi - He'll be in Illinois -- just outside Chicago

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Shannyn he is probably a bit tired after playing my grandkids yesterday have fun with him

Caren I am so with you I read every word and savor the whole book with a small movie running in my head while I read with colours and accents the whole kit an kaboodle. I don't think I could enjoy a book if I just skimmed it.

Have Fun
Helen

flchen1 said...

Hmm... Caren, I think mostly I read like your husband (*gasp!*) BUT there are books that I savor more the way you describe. And those end up on the keeper shelf. I'm not sure exactly what distinguishes them--the writing, sure, but sometimes it's just a hero/heroine/situation/?? that clicks, and then it's way better than a movie.

And whether or not I'm having this full-immersion experience, I tend to prefer it to movies. Maybe for me, movies are just too much--too visual, too loud, too many things to pay attention to, but with a book, I can choose which tracks to add. And lots of times like Kirsten, I just want to know what happens next!

Or maybe I'm just weird.

Congrats on the GR, Shannyn!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Wonderful post, Caren!
LURVE that picture of Aragorn... (happy sigh) I too read LOTR when I was a freshman in high school (of course they were NEW RELEASES THEN! LOL!) and never thought a movie would ever do them justice. I did have a couple of small gripes with Peter Jackson's masterful works. (Tolkien's elves did NOT have pointy ears, and neither did the hobbits!) But on the whole, each movie was a BREATHTAKING experience!

I NEVER used to skim novels, but now with a TBR pile in the stratsophere and growing, if a book doesn't GRAB ME and HOLD ME, I do! (What penance must I do for admitting such sacrilege?)

But I truly do create that full blown movie in my imagination when I'm reading. And, yes, 9 times out of 10, if I read the book first, then see the movie, I'm disappointed in the movie. It just can't compare to full-blown Cindy-vision! :-P

AC

Eva S said...

Hi Caren,
I love my movies in my head too, and that's why I'm happy my favorite books never were made into real movies (LOTR is an exception)! But I read a lot of books and if a book isn't right for me I sometimes speed-read...
PS.Thanks for the wonderful card!

Margay said...

Caren, I'm with you. I am a very visual reader. I hear the music, the background noise as described; I see the action, the characters - I even picture my favorite actors in the parts - every movement and gesture. It truly is like a movie in my head. I have always read this way, for as long as I can remember. I couldn't imagine skimming a book unless it was bad, but required reading. I truly love to savor every word, every scene, thereby becoming a part of it (because of course we're always the leading ladies of these books, aren't we?) - in fact, this is how I write, too. It is a complete movie in my head; my job is just to capture everything I can on paper. Hopefully, I succeed. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who reads this way!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Congrats on the GR Shannyn! I don't think he has been to Illinois before.
As usual the Banditas make me feel better about myself, they let me know I am not quite as strange as I thought I was. I see and hear everything I read. Even in speed mode it is like watching in fast forward...LOL Most of the time though I read very fast, I still have the movies in my head. I think there might be a little difference in how I speed read. When I was a sweet young thing in junior high there was a program (complete with computers and headsets) that taught us not to read word by word but by groups of words. Though I read very quickly, I still read and comprehend every word. With a title that has gotten me wired up I have found that I do have to back up from time to time because reading too fast scratches the disc.... :-)

Cheryl Brooks said...

Caren,
For me, it depends on the book. If I'm getting down to the wire and it's really captured my attention, I skim to find out what happens next.
This is why I tend to read a book more than once. I read first for content, and second for color.
Movies are that way,too. The first time you see LOTR, you might not hear the music, but when you watch it again, the nuances strike you even more strongly than the clash of swords. And by the way, I loved the Aragorn pic,too!
Thanks!
Cheryl

Christine Wells said...

Caren, what a great post. I wish I could say I savoured every morsel but I tend to read books very quickly--one a day. A writer has to be a visual kind of writer to have me visualizing their book as if it were a movie these days. Nora Roberts' books are like that for me but many romances aren't because so much of the 'action' takes place inside the characters' heads.

Sometimes I try to make myself slow down. Once, I realized that I almost never read the first paragraph of a chapter or a scene. Sometimes I miss something important and I have to back-track. Like Kirsten said, I think I'm impatient!

Shannyn, congrats on the GR and welcome to the lair! Treat our feathered friend well, won't you?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Caren, Great post, but then anything with a pic of Aragorn has my vote!! :)

Congrats on the GR, Shannyn! And welcome to the lair.

Okay, apparently, I'm the oddball (Yeah, I know that isn't surprising). While I do read every word, something that marveled a young co-worker and makes for a great story in the bar, I only get glimpses of images while I read. However, I HEAR the story, the cadences, the dialogue. If you have a character from a certain part of the country, I'll hear the accent, especially if some of those vocal clues are in the dialogue or in the introspection. I think it goes with the whole picking up accents thing.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh yeah, that hearing the book thing? It's why I hate, hate, hate being read to. Books on tape? Nope, not happening for me!

Caren Crane said...

Kirsten, I think my husband ended up a skim reader for the same reason. He says he tries to slow down when it's a book he really enjoys, but he doesn't linger over clever lines or turns of phrase as I enjoy doing. He is quite impatient to get to the END, whereas I dread reaching the end because the story will be over! *g*

I fear I never would have made it through law school. I would still be getting through the required reading. :-( Snaps to you!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, that is a very cool fact. Is it some sort of learning impairment or just different ways of processing information? The dh and I learn things so differently that it has taken years for each of us to understand that it's not that one chooses not to get what the other is saying, we simply have to keep presenting the information until we find a way that makes sense to the other person.

It's more frustrating for him than for me. I totally get it now when what I say makes no sense for him, so I try to restate it or present it in ways that do make sense. He thinks of directions, for instance, in landmarks. "You know, the shopping center where the big oak tree is and there's a Krispy Kreme in there?" I, on the other hand, rarely notice landmarks (even big, colorful ones!) and I want street names. "It's on the northeast corner of Maynard and Kildaire Farm." Now THAT, I understand!

Having children who all learned in unique ways helped us, the parents, understand each other better. The worst is him trying to help our youngest (a visual learner, like him) to do math. Oh, the horror! hi math "visual" is writing out the problem. But I can throw in an example from real life and she gets it right away.

The brain is fascinating!

Caren Crane said...

Shannyn, I hope your having good weather in IL! Surely spring is finding its way to you by now? I have a couple of good friends who live up your way. By April, they are usually stir crazy and ready to go ANYWHERE the sun is shining! *g*

The GR has been in Australia, where it's autumn (my FAVORITE time of year!). So, he may be happy to be back in the springtime weather, where the chickens are ready to party!

Um, keep him away from your nice knives. He has picked up some tricks from P226 that we don't like to discuss... =:-0

Caren Crane said...

Helen, I'm so glad the GR was with you and the grandkiddies yesterday. He is always in fine feather when he returns from your house. He's taken quite a shine to your cooking, I think!

And I feel the same way about skim reading. I have tried it when I need to slog through something, but I find I really miss the author's voice - even in non-fiction. Which makes some non-fiction reading a real chore for me. I suppose that's why I love fiction so.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Jo! That so explains why my son has problems reading. It is one of many things that is very hard to teach. My son is autistic and trying to get in to him is a constant battle. If it (whatever he is trying to read)is not a subject that particularly interesting to him, he just doesn't get it. No pictures in his mind to clue him in on what he is reading.

Dina said...

I do all of them sometime.
But if the book is also a movie, I think of the characters in the movie as I read the book. If I have the movie soundtrack, I also like to listen to it as I read to feel like I'm there in it.

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, I love that phrase "full-immersion experience". See there, I was savoring your comment. :-)

I'm glad you said that about movies being "too much". I think that sums it up for me. I adore movies and watch (and own) far too many of them. I always have at least 60 or so in the Netflix queue. We've been turning them around in a couple of days lately, too!

I find the ones I enjoy most are the slow movies: the relationship movies. The ones that unfold slowly and allow me to notice every gesture, each nuance, the sidelong look, the modestly lowered lashes. I think that's why the A&E 'Pride and Prejudice' and the 'North & South' mini-series are such hits with me. It unfolds at a pace that feels natural.

I love action movies - I mean really LURVE them - but I have to watch them at least two or three times to catch what's really going on. Especially - Heaven forfend! - if there are hand-offs in a crowd or some such thing. Too much, too much! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Aunty, I love the Cindy-vision! Yes, my Caren-vision is hard to beat, too. *g*

I think it's interesting that you've begun to skim to get through the TBR pile, AC. I've found I lack even the time and patience to do that. If a book doesn't grab me and make me read, I tend to put it aside. Some I have come back to (I'm all about second chances!), but if I can't make it through a second time, it usually gets donated somewhere, so someone else can enjoy it.

You've outed yourself, AC. Now I know who to ask, "Hey, have you read...?" *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Eva, it's so great to see you here! I am glad the card arrived (it probably took months *g*).

I think we really give movie-makers a hard time, don't we? I suppose they read a book or script and have a vision in their head just as we do. How likely is it that any of those visions will match? Probably not very likely at all.

Claudia Dain and I have had some conversations about why romances, in general, don't make good movies. Even Nora Roberts's books don't necessarily translate well to film. I think part of it is, we lose the author's voice, which is such an integral part of a book experience. The other is that we have such rich internal dialogue in romance - more than in many other genres - that the stories can feel flat without it on the big screen.

Part of the art of great film, I suppose, is taking those beloved stories and finding external ways to convey that internal reality. A tough job!

Eva, I suppose we should be glad they don't attempt to translate more of our favorites into films. I was always glad they never tackled Susan Isaacs's "Almost Paradise". Oh, the horror that could be wrought!

Caren Crane said...

Margay, hi girly! Do you really picture actual actors in "parts" in the book? I've heard other people say that, but have found that I really don't do that. I'm not sure, why, but for some reason I have never identified the characters in my head with real people. I think maybe that's why I have been disappointed in many movie adaptations. Those actors look NOTHING like the people I imagined. *g*

I've also heard lots of people say they imagine themselves as the heroine. I must admit, I don't do that, either. For me, it really is like a movie - but not a home video. *g* I see the story as happening to other people and don't internalize it.

Hm. Maybe that's a problem! Or maybe just a difference. I have no expectation of "being" the heroine, so maybe that is why I can accept some heroines that others find "unlikeable". I don't need her to be liked, because I'm not crawling into her skin - just watching her story unfold. Does that make any sense?

I know some readers have a real issue with opinionated, strong-willed, sometimes mouthy heroines. I'm trying to figure out why? Is it because they can't imagine being them? Or maybe they wouldn't want to be friends with them? What do you guys think?

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, that's really interesting. I'll bet that made all that boring stuff in high school and college much more tolerable! See, I think speed reading has its place. I'm curious about it. I have a preconceived notion it wouldn't work well with my kind of brain, but I could be totally wrong!

I think part of my fear is that I would start to speed-read books I want to enjoy slowly. Has it made it hard for you to read each word, like, just changed the way you read everything? I guess if you retrained your brain, the fast reading would be your default mode?

Words are so important to me that I think I value them more than ideas or concepts, if that makes sense. I agonize so much when I'm writing (even a birthday card) about which words to use, which phrase is best, that I think I put perhaps too much stock in word choices.

At least, my husband has accused me of getting all hung up on a word he said. He is usually just trying to get out an idea and I am giving each hard-won word far too much scrutiny! *g*

Dianna, since you work with numbers, I'll bet the "grouping" thing translates well to your job!

Caren Crane said...

Cheryl, you're going to force me to make a confession. When I'm reading a very suspenseful book and I'm dying to know what happens but I don't have time to really "read", I will sometimes skim to see what happens next. Especially if it's someone like Harlan Coben, who is the master of the plot twist!

Then, of course, I have to go back and read every word because I often have no idea how they got from here to there in 3 pages! Hallmark of a great read, I'm sure. *g*

I hadn't even thought about that as skim-reading, but you're right, it is! Okay, I am now a self-professed skim reader in a very narrow set of circumstancess - and only with certain books. *g*

Cheryl, you have brought a whole new side of me to light!

jo robertson said...

Caren, I think it's more a learning deficiency.

It's interesting about directions though. Studies have shown that generally women tend to remember with visual cues, like turn right at the McDonald's, etc., and men remember by either direction (east, west) or street signs.

I think that's part of our spatial intelligence, isn't it? And why more men tend to excel at architecture than women. I have almost NO spatial intelligence, btw, and can get lost in my back yard!

And yes the brain is incredibly complex and fascinating. They've now identified at least 8 intelligences. I'm sure we can guess which ones writers are high in -- verbal/linguistic.

And kinesthetic? Makes me appreciate athletes more since I can also stumble standing still.

Caren Crane said...

Christine, that is fascinating! So, you think the way the book is written influences how you read it? It sounds like what Fedora was saying. Hm.

I think I do the visualization for most books, no matter the writing style. Certainly, though, certain authors give you a lot more to play with than others. For instance, I think Rosamunde Pilcher and Lavyrle Spencer both wrote incredibly visual books. Lots about the plants and landscapes and architecture. Those books, for me, are an especially lovely ramble. I recall putting the book down to more fully envision a scene I had just read.

For other writers, I still have the visualization going, but at a less-detailed level. It's not wallpaper, but less 360 degrees. For me, La Nora gives snapshots. She uses carefully-chosen details to give us a snapshot of what's going on. She can pack more description in a sentence than any other writer I know!

Caren Crane said...

Suz, that's awesome that you hear all the voices. I do too! Especially the accents. I've read a couple of J.D. Robb's recently (love those) and Roarke is so delightfully Irish! Eve has a flat, NY-inflected voice, thanks to her many years in NYC. Peabody is pure midwestern.

I don't enjoy being "read to", either, Suz. I never thought that was why, but maybe it's just that the voice they choose doesn't match the voices in my head. I like that!

I think, too, books on tape are hard for me because there is no pause for me to process what I heard. I'm not primarily an auditory learner - I'm a bit visual and auditory, but prefer and kinesthetic component. So, sitting in class listening to a lecture with a teacher who writes on a chalkboard while I take notes is OPTIMAL learning environment for me. I was a teacher's dream!

Caren Crane said...

Dina, that's really interesting. I never in a million years would have thought of listening to the movie soundtrack while reading the book. That is a cool concept! I'll bet that would have really jazzed up 'Cold Mountain'. That was a book my husband adored that I found slo-o-o-w and highly unsatisfying in so many ways. My husband, though, is both a man and a history buff, so he was in Heaven!

Yep, the soundtrack could have helped that one. Thinking of Jude Law couldn't have hurt, either. *g*

Suzanne Welsh said...

Caren, Nora's Irish series really brought home this hearing the books to me. When she was in the Irish character's POV I heard Ireland, even in the description of the land and countryside. When she was in the American's POV, it sounded very American.

Probably why I love Scottish set historicals, especially if the writer manages to actually find the Scottish cadence in their writing, like Sandy Blair does. AND OMG...the Johanna Lindsey book that starts out with a thick brogue between three clansmen...I was talking with an accent for days!

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, since you're son is autistic, it's no wonder he can't "picture" what he's reading. Autism is incredibly fascinating. I think they have learned more about how the brain works studying autism and Alzheimer's than any other way. Brain science is SO COOL!

Okay, that doesn't make it easier to deal with, but it IS fascinating. One of my friends has a profoundly autistic son and one has a son with Asperger Syndrome. Two totally opposite ends of the spectrum, but the parallels and challenges of each are interesting.
I hadn't thought about the picturing words connection there. This has turned into quite an educational topic!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I'm sure the spatial intelligence thing is typically stronger in men. However, in our house, I have keener spatial intelligence than my husband (who has a master's degree in electrical engineering).

My father and grandfather did carpentry and I totally "get" how things work together. Trusses, statics, strength of materials and all that mechanical jazz. My husband doesn't have that. He has an incredible capacity to think through very complicated systems and keep it all straight in his head. Me, not so much.

I am not very visual, but I remember how things are oriented in relation to each other. I know if something has moved or shifted, but couldn't necessarily tell you what it was. I can look at a map and remember how all the streets are oriented in relation to one another. I also have a great ability to take what I know of existing roads and project where they come out. I love to find alternate routes everywhere - it drives my husband crazy!

For him to use his GPS, he HAS to have a street address. Without it, the GPS is pointless. The coolest thing to me was standing on the top of a mountain in the Interlaken region of Switzerland and getting an aerial view of Interlaken, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz on our left, then the mountain valleys that led toward Kandersteg and Adelboden, respectively, on our right. It gave us a complete orientation of the region we had been touring for a WEEK in about two minutes. Amazing!

Caren Crane said...

Suz, does that drive people you know nuts? 'Cause my husband gloms onto accents like that and it's fairly insanity-inducing for me. *g*

Interestingly, though, he is TERRIBLE at languages. I, on the other hand, pick them up quickly and easily. Even after 10 days in Switzerland, he couldn't remember the names for common things like the railway and bathroom in German. I got tired of having to tell him a million times what every sign said! *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Shannyn! That rooster is a handful! Treat him right and he always comes back to visit. Ask Fedora! And Kirsten - define 'familiar'. Bwahahahahaha!

Caren, I think you and TICD have a point about romances. People who aren't really readers always ask me when my books will be movies. But I can't see either becoming an effective movie (oh, that I should have the chance to knock back an offer, though!). The most important action is internal, emotional, cerebral. Well, apart from the sex! And movies rely on action to make their point. I've even noticed when they do adapt a romance, the emotional arc gets simplified or cut to the point sometimes of nonexistence and they either punch up or put in new outside action. Makes it a completely different experience (just watched the adaptation of Loving Evangeline by Linda Howard, so this is something high in my mind at the moment). In the book, those characters are struggling with really big internal issues and that's the main focus. The suspense plot is really a strategy to get them together emotionally. In the movie, the suspense plot was far and away the major element of the story.

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, I'm most definitely an immerse yourself girl. Which is why I too hate most films of books I've liked. The English Patient was an exception but that's because while they took the skeletal structure of the story and the characters, the movie and the book are completely different and have completely different aims. Movie - grand romantic drama. Book - meditation on colonialism. I generally love the BBC adaptations, though, because as you so perceptively said, they unwind at the pace of reading, almost. And they include all that detail that often a movie has to imply or gloss over quickly. I think a screenplay is usually about 100/120 pages, isn't it? I'm currently on a book that's 900 pages! Of course one will offer a richer, more detailed experience, unless the screenplay is VERY good!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Caren, it did help in the school work and it helped when I was in customer service big time, I could read through comments on an account like a house afire.
I do have a tendency to read faster when I get to exciting parts in a book and I have had to back up a couple of sentences. Like I said before it kind of "sounds" like static when I go so fast I read it wrong. It is really kind of weird now that I think about it.LOL
It is a case of just retraining yourself. I can read through work documents in a matter of minutes but depending on the book it might take me a half hour to read three to four pages, or more exactly where I am in a book.
It does help working with the numbers, another thing I have learned to do is basically "unfocus" my eyes when searching for a particular number or set of numbers. It just jumps right out at me.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I think the thing that amazes with my son is there are some things he is absolutely brilliant, but he can't tie his shoes. He can play a video game and beat it (just for the record, I can't even get past the first level of a child's video)but when asked how much I pay for groceries per month he said 30.00. You never know what is happening inside his head, he has "parroting" down to an art. It took me a while to catch on (yes, mom can be and often is slow)I was all excited thinking he was initiating conversations until it dawned on me he was listening to conversations between me and whoever and then coming in the room and talking about the very thing we had been discussing. He is very clever in his own way. It is fascinating the way his mind works, or as best I can tell his mind is working, sometimes he just throws me for a loop. Patrick is considered mid functioning.

Caren Crane said...

Oh, Anna, I wish I had seen the adaptation of the Linda Howard. I have noticed the same thing with adaptations of romance novels. Kick up the action so it's actually interesting. Otherwise, it can be dull to watch people angst, no matter how fascinating it was to read!

Interesting you mentioned The English Patient. That is my bff's absolute favorite movie of all time. I liked it well enough, but wasn't as swept away as she was. I typically have trouble with adulterers and people so selfish they will betray their country to save one person. But that's just me. *g* I loved Kip and his little side romance with Juliette Binoche. Of course, then they separate and who knows if they'll ever meet again?

She also loves the book which I TRIED to read, I promise! Dull, dull, dull. Again, the bff adored the book. Our tastes in books are quite different. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, that's interesting about the unfocusing your eyes thing. I've done that when searching for four-leaf clovers, just search for the ones that don't fit the pattern. But it's something I've learned to do. My mother can look at a patch of clover, lean over and simply pluck a four-leafer. It's natural for her!

Caren Crane said...

Okay, here is a completely unsolicited and probably unwelcome rave: the Black & Decker Hedge Hog electric hedge trimmer is the best hedge trimmer I've ever owned!

If you're like me and the bushes you trim could probably benefit from a chain saw, get the Hedge Hog. It eats through those suckers!

I have become quite familiar with mine this afternoon and will no doubt be spending more time with it in the weeks to come. Now, if they'd just invent something that will go behind me and pick up the trimmings...

Beth said...

Great topic, Caren! I'm a true reader and I'm very visual in reading and in life. I often picture things in my head - which is why I hate it when someone tells me something I'd rather NOT see like when Grandma Mazur in the Stephanie Plum novels starts talking about sex *ggg*

jo robertson said...

Dianna, my grandson also is autistic, 10 yo, and can't tie his shoes. I think with shoe-typing, it's the idea of missing the window of opportunity. He just barely learned to ride a bike.

He's high functioning (Asperger's), but has a highly imaginative inner life, is the highest reader in his mainstreamed 4th grade class, but the lowest in math skills. Very disparate abilities. He's a little high maintenance and intense, but of course we think he's wonderful!

They are fascinating little guys!

jo robertson said...

Caren, I may have mentioned this before (or at least thought it LOL), but you remind me a lot of my oldest daughter Shannon. She has the highest spatial intelligence I've ever seen in a woman. Must get it from her dad.

It's funny to watch her and her husband because she NEVER gets lost and he does quite frequently, but he's just stubborn enough not to listen to her. You'd think he'd learn, huh?

Caren Crane said...

Beth, that's a great example! I have the same problem with some of the grosser things I've read. The picture is in my mind for-ev-er. Ack!

When someone I know prefaces a story with a comment like, "If you don't like booger talk, don't listen to this", I have to cover my ears and give them a "la, la, la" until I'm out of earshot.

The image of Stimpy's booger garden (which he showed off one time on Ren & Stimpy with the tagline, "I picked these myself!") has haunted me all these years!!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I feel for Shannon! My dh and I have had quite a few intense conversations because he cannot allow himself to defer to my sense of direction. He is just stubborn, though. *g* Oh, okay, we're a whole house full of stubborn! Our poor children got a double dose. The most mule-headed children in the universe! Of course, they got it from their daddy. *eg*

Tell Shannon I feel her pain!

Caren Crane said...

I am shocked no one has refuted my assertion that the Hedge Hog is the best set of electric hedge trimmers around! Are there no fans of gas-powered hedge trimmers on board? *g*

I also have an electric leaf blower I love. I chose it mainly because it's so much quieter than the gas-powered ones. If you're going to go deaf in order to have a clean-looking driveway and pool patio, might as well give yourself a fighting chance, I always say.

I'm kind of bummed that I can't work in the yard tomorrow. I need to hack down the Rose Of Sharon and a couple of butterfly bushes, but have to go with some of my Girl Scouts to a rowing event. They are learning to crew. Should be fun!

They would never let me be coxswain, though. I'm far too tall and heavy. But man, could I give some orders! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Jo, I'll bet your grandson is great fun to be with! For all the challenges in raising an autistic child, I think the insight you gain into how we process the endless amount of information we are bombarded with every day is priceless.

Most of us have brains that process WAY more information than we ever realize. We take so much for granted. Being able to communicate our thoughts is a huge one. Imagine having profound thoughts and being unable to speak to anyone about them? It must be incredibly frustrating for the autistic child as well as the family, teachers, etc.

We are lucky they know so much more today than they did when your grandson was born, Jo. Just imagine the strides they might make in his lifetime!

Caren Crane said...

Thanks for commenting today, guys. Have to have the girls at church at 8:00 ET, so I had better hit the hay!

By the way, today was my son's 22nd birthday. Dang, am I getting old or what?

flchen1 said...

Wow! Are you kidding, Caren! I wouldn't have imagined you'd have a 12 year old, much less a 22 year old!
Happy b-day to him and you!

And thanks for the fun topic! It's grand chatting with you, as always! :)

Margay said...

Jo, my younger daughter, at 14, was just diagnosed with Asperger's (in addition to bipolar disorder) and she sounds very much like your grandson. Let's just say that she has a very unique way of tying her shoes, but is incredibly gifted in other areas, which include her imagination. She usually does well on tests over regular classwork and is better at science and languages than math. The minds of these kids are fascinating places!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Jo, my son never did learn to ride a bike, he also has tremors and other apraxic symptoms and balance is just not his forte. Math is killing us, even though he is special ed geometry is still necessary to his graduation and we have been fighting an "F" the whole semester.

Keira Soleore said...

Caren, how I love you, let me count the ways.

To me, skim-reading would be like sitting down to a gourmet dinner and just sniffing each succulent dish as it passes by. Or maybe chewing the food without swallowing.

Don't inhale. Don't swallow either. (bar har har)