Sassafras, Boysenberries and the Sound of Words

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

Do you like the sound of your voice? It’s funny, but somehow when we’re speaking, we don’t hear our voice the same as when we hear it recorded. I remember the first time I heard a recording of my voice. I was in high school and somebody had brought in a tape recorder. None of us had recorded our voices before and so we were playing with it. I remember my shock when I heard my voice. It was so awful I decided I’d never speak aloud again. Of course, that lasted about two minutes. It’s too much fun to talk.

The reason I’m remembering all this is that not long ago somebody told me I should make some videos. He’s been trying to help me improve my use of media and after he met me face to face and witnessed firsthand how much I like to talk, he told me I was a storyteller. He thought I should try videoing some of my Facebook posts. So I’ve been playing around with the video on my iPhone. And you know what? I’m still not crazy about the sound of my voice, but I am more used to it now. Anyway, I decided to test out my very first live video on you sweet people. It’s about picking boysenberries and is less than a minute long. 

If you listen to it, you can tell me what you think. Stupid? Wait, you wouldn’t tell me that. You’re too nice, aren’t you? Silly? You might tell me that. Boring? You’ll probably tell me that. Just keep in mind – this is a test. This is only a test. If it were a real video, I would have hired a voice-over actress and maybe a script writer too. LOL. 

But back to boysenberries and sassafras. I posted a photo of sassafras leaves on my Facebook page and asked how many people had tried sassafras tea. You’d be surprised how many. I’m not sure if I have or not. I think Dad brought in roots and Mom made it once, but I can’t positively remember tasting it. But whether you’ve tasted it or not, you know the word. 

One of my Facebook friends said she loved the word – sassafras. Doesn’t it roll off your tongue just the way you think it should? And boysenberry is the same. A treat for the tongue – both the berry and the word. 

I love words that glide through your ears and look good on paper too. I like fun words that sound what they mean. Like nincompoop. Or rain. If you draw that word rain out with a bit of southern drawl, you can hear drops sliding down your window. Or fever. Or hash. Add an ‘r’ and you have harsh. It sounds just that. But then think willow or whisper. 

So even though I don’t particularly like the sound of my voice, I do like the sound of words. And somehow just seeing those words written down plays the sounds in our heads as we’re reading. As you’re reading, you might not even notice the words. That’s the way a story is supposed to read, but if the writer has chosen the right words, the best words, then those words can add so much to the story.  So maybe I need to add a few boysenberries and some sassafras tea to my next story or have a willow tree whispering in the breeze. 

Oh yeah, and there’s that word “ow” or “ouch” I said you would hear a lot if you were here picking boysenberries with me. Maybe it will be better if we just sit in the glider and sip some of that sassafras tea. Or eat a piece of that boysenberry cobbler.

Thanks for reading. What words can you think of that are a treat to the ears or that sound exactly as they should?