If any loquacity remains in my life’s stockpile, it hasn’t been diminished during these months in quarantine, the quarter of a year that got tagged onto concurring years of (mostly supine) solitary living. As it’s happened, I’m almost mute. Or have been muted. I don’t know why, nor by what and don’t even mind. Truth be told, there’s little I have to say; am fed up with my story. Just about any request seems like (almost visceral) pressure. Thus: friends, family, neighbors, allies, anyone contemplating even a commonplace conversation with me, please forgive me for dullness or thwarting you or hiding away Think of me as …. as what? …. your loving comrade whose mute button got compressed. By what? By whom? Temporary or otherwise? Time will tell.
Meanwhile, a dial has turned to high. As one who has been seriously addicted to various activities in this lifetime (some harmless, some foolish, a few lethal), I’ve fallen under the sway of a new vice. This clinging monkey, the talking book, is cuddly, seductive, beguiling and, thanks to the NYPL, I’ve had free access to hundreds of thousands of these verbose pets. Through intense listening spells, I’ve even fallen in love with several voices. Following: two who have made me laugh out loud in this darkened room, caused tears to rush down my cheeks, have lulled me to sleep or awakened me .
Stefan Rudnicki (originally from Krakow, Poland) is one. His rendering of Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness kept me tuned-in for three days and four nights. The other reader (London born David Case), my other favorite, has kept me happily shackled for thousands of hours … through every single articulated word in Proust’s Remembrance of things Past. Right now am under his spell as he reveals John Galsworthy’s family Forsyte. I’ve completed A Man of Property and begun In Chancery. It’s a relief to this addict that seven more parts await – ‘protecting supply’ being one of the keynotes of addiction.
Might all this actually belong in 20/5/20’s blog-posting Third Childhood? One more childish delight resurrected? Daddy reads to child, Mommy reads to child. Childish comfort resumed later in life: Lover or friend or radio reads to adult child?
Or, (could it be true) as Covid 19 has absconded with my ability to smell, has it also robbed me of free speech?