So, rather than listen to the shrieking voices of callers and hosts on the radio talk shows I listen to while reviewing loan files (the sky is not falling, my darlings, unless you let it), today I decided to listen to the first of twelve CDs accompanying my ‘Becoming a Great Essayist” class from The Great Courses. Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black grabbed me in the introduction by suggesting that a recipe could be the basis for a food essay…immediately my mind started wandering between the loan I was approving, and the old recipes I have on hand, and I became bored with the effort of the good professor to present an interesting lecture. I am not saying she does a bad job, but I realized she was reading her lecture, as in dramatic reading, with sighs and pregnant pauses designed to grab your interest and transfer the emotion of Virginia Wolff haunting London, or clarify her own emotion in writing an essay about her unfashionable, but wonderful, brilliant and scholarly mother. I realized that, like my grandchildren, when someone reads to me, I want to grab the page and read it for myself, putting my own intonations where/if necessary. I wondered what listening to the good professor in a classroom would be like. Would she speak more naturally? Does she speak this way normally? Does her whole family measure their words so carefully? How many times did she re-record this, making certain her voice was smooth and pleasant? I must say, she is certainly more interesting to listen to than Barbara Kingsolver droning through one of her books on tape.
GREAT COURSES DAY ONE