Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saints Day

We've always rather liked to extend our birthdays over two or three days.  Not a question of wild partying, or lavishing with piles of extravagant gifts, but simply of nurturing an expansive and relaxed feeling of celebration, gratitude, that it's a special time, a step outside of the ordinary.

This is helped for me that the following day is always my saint's day, and since I've lived here, though the tradition of saints' days is on the wane, Ste Lucie is still one that is remarked on, and on the 13th December someone or other usually wishes me bonne fête. One day I hope to go to Scandinavia for it.

I wrote about what St Lucy's day means to me a couple of years ago hereJonathan Wonham, he of Connaisances and latterly Icebus, left a small, incredibly precious jewel, beside it.  Such treasures people do leave here, I find it quite wanton and profligate of them...

St Lucy's Day

Just on the threshold of sight
stands the one who knows the way
whenever the light of a hundred days
is ground in the crucible of one night.


I was quite busy on Sunday.  I had parcels to parcel and a teaching assignment to write - as always with any area of formal study I've ever engaged in, I began the on-line TEFL course in a surge of enthusiasm and energy, thinking 'no sweat!', then grew dissipated and drifted, then suddenly found myself with a looming deadline or a price to pay, and now am rather enjoying the pressure of getting it finished just in time and by the skin of my teeth.  'Twas ever thus... It snowed a little in the morning, and was pale and grey and sad, but the sun came out in the afternoon despite the lean wind, and Mol and I had a walk out of it.

And, by chance or a nice serendipity, Dave at Qarrtsiluni e-mailed and said could I do the audio recording for the Saints photos I'd sent them a while back, for their excellent Words of Power edition.  So I retired to the blue room and spoke to thin air about saints.  The result is at here at Qarrtsiluni.

I have mixed feelings about hearing myself like this.  Heaven knows, anyone who knows me wouldn't hesitate to say that I'm fond enough of the sound of my own voice; introversion does not preclude loquacity.  However, public speaking is simply not something I'm accustomed to; my education did not include much in the way of spoken presentation or any communication skills beyond writing, and I've never liked my recorded voice, I don't even like talking to my Australian brother on the 'phone when there's the satellite echo and I can hear myself.  But the unfamilarity of and recoil from a sustained recording do add to the fascination, and it was an interesting exercise to talk from notes in this way; teaching has made me better at pacing myself, not rushing or mumbling unclearly as is my natural wont, and I found I relaxed into it as I went on.  Overall, the addition of the audio podcasts in Qarrtsiluni adds a huge extra dimension, and it really is worth taking a bit of time to listen to the contributors' readings.  And yes, I am aware that as a Brit in a largely American milieu one does get a bit of totally unearned extra kudos!

Last time I did this, I spoke into the camera mic of the Canon, which gave quite a good quality result.  (Dave then strips the audio from the video file, because he's a clever bugger and knows how to do such things...).  Trying out the Lumix, despite it's much vaunted super-dooper video function, I thought the result was muffled and disappointing.  I tried the cheapcam and thought it was crisper, but when it was shipped it turned out to have a rather hideous crackle, which combined with the rather infantile staccato crackle in my  natural voice, is a bit harsh.  However, Dave's done wonders ironing out the faults with clever software, for which I'd like to offer many thanks and appreciation for his talents and patience.


So, still no pictures to speak of.  Next time...


Catalyst said...

Lucy, what a pleasure to hear your voice.

Nimble said...

Picturing you with a crown of lights. Hurrah for the solstice -- we're almost there!

Setu said...

"A la Sainte Luce, le jour croît d'un saut de puce!" It's the only day when fleas are welcome, I think... Bon anniversaire, a bit late but sincerely.

marja-leena said...

So wonderful to hear your voice and that British accent! Happy St. Lucia's Day! Is that why you were named Lucy?

The Crow said...

Now I can imagine conversing with you and Joe, for I have memories of your voices in my brain's ear. When I read your words, I will hear your voice again.

I'm so glad you did this recording, Lucy.

A bit late, but happy Saint Lucia-happy birthday.


Zhoen said...

And you get some good hymns with your name in them.

Roderick Robinson said...

I experienced a moment of unintended and certainly undeserved flattery when I came upon "oblation" which I used as a relish-word in a post about fountain pens a year ago and you picked up and used in a litany of words beginning with o in a subsequent comment. Hey, even if it was totally sub-conscious... The high-end responsive recording makes you sound as if you are wrapped in tin-foil, possibly as part of a very advanced display of culinary art shared with Plutarch. But the most remarkable feature was the modest tone of voice you adopted in offering up all this erudition - a sort of shrugging, please listen to the words not to me. I felt like shouting: Hey, you're entitled to blare; where are the bloody Bach trumpets? But then I reflect on my own unfortunate relationship with recorded media and conclude yes, this is probably the way to do it. Good stuff, Luce. le chapeau.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh wow, yes lovely to hear you. You sound EXACTLY like someone else I know. It was a bit uncanny. I can't think where you said you grew up? This other person is from Lowestoft although not of local parents. I loved your voice anyway.

I'm sorry I missed your birthday. I was going to ask if you were named for Ste Lucie but then I clicked on your link and answered the question for myself. Happy belated birthday.

Lucy said...

Thanks all. There's always a curiosity to hear someone's voice which you've only previously imagined in reading their writing.

I grew up in the Home Counties of England, in Hertfordshire, and despite sojourns in Brighton, Wales, the West Country, I think that's where the accent hales from.