Friday, December 21, 2007


1. The full, vibrattoless roundness of John Coltrane on a tenor saxophone.

2. The mounting passion and conviction of Martin Luther King, building toward the inevitable invocation of grace on all who care.

3. The nasal New England twang of JFK out on the stump.

4. The emerging sound of destiny in the voice of a young naval officer, John Kerry, speaking out against the Viet Nam war one late Spring afternoon on the Boston Common.

6. The clear, effortless timbre of Carmen McRae, effortlessly reaching for a high note, holding it, then going higher.

7. The sound you get of boots crunching through the prairie when you read Annie Proulx aloud.

8. Edward Kennedy's outrage over injustice nudging through bombast to the platform of oratory.

9. The nasal bag pipe skirl of the soprano saxophone when played by Sydney Bechet.

10. The hidden laughter lurking behind every sentence of Jane Austen.

11. Billie Holliday.

12. The pure Missouri drawl working its way through the writing of Daniel Woodrell.

13. Red Barber, calling a Dodger's game.

14. Paul Robeson singing "Old Man River."

15. Emma Thompson.

16. The lush sadness of the Ravel Piano concerto in G.


lettuce said...

10, 11,15,16 are the ones i know best - i love your list (as always)

R.L. Bourges said...

this is like calling out the numbers at bingo:1- 2-7-8-9-16
but what touches me most today is 8 "outrage...nudging through bombast..." and when that happens, for a brief moment, one remembers that politics can make a difference." And then the man starts hearing the sound of his own voice, and the outrage melts down into pompousness.

x said...

Oh! I'm excited! You are doing a series of lists on the senses! This is a great way to teach writers how to use the senses in their writing. I especially love the sound of Jane Austen's laughter. Perfect, perfect and perfect.