Monday, 19 July 2010

life to an inner soundtrack

Some people are, apparently, visual: Their inner life runs on images that represent what they think about, how they approach problems, the way their world is laid out symbolically. I have always envied this in a vague kind of way. The ability to close one's eyes and call to mind a picture must be incredibly useful. I have never been able to do it.

In truth, part of the reason behind my resentment is that I always thought it would be a really cool seduction technique to be able to say to a lady "Let me draw you" and enigmatically, scribble away with few words except "a-huh.. hmm mmm" and "turn a little to the left please so I can catch that curl better".

Alas, fumbling fingers which reject the idea of pencils aside, I have little sense of the visual and have been unable to develop one despite many hours of intense practise over the years. And so, I come to the conclusion that, in this aspect, the nature-nurture debate has shown a clear conclusion. I am not visual.

But, my world is ruled by a sense of sound and bodily position. My head is filled with music all the time and I can call to mind a Tchaikovsky Symphony, note-for-note accurately in those moments when I find myself somewhere needing some kind of entertainment.
I first did this, oddly, with Wings, "Band on the Run" in French lessons at school, which I found excruciatingly dull to the point of almost physical pain. Imagine my delight to find an inner passtime that required no props or equipment and which could occupy me in those arid moments of intellectual drought.

Interestingly, I also always found a kind of auditory-kinaesthetic synaesthesia between a sound and a movement.
To explain what I mean: Everyone is familiar with certain sounds which conjure up a movement - the sound of a tomato hitting a tiled floor after being dropped is very evocative and one can instantly, if they work in any way siimilar to me, see in their "Mind's eye" the impact, or in my case, feel the weight and the sudden giving-way of the skin to the force of the contents, tasting the juice and possibly slipping on it and banging a knee on a cupboard.
The sound of a drop of water falling into a pool of water in an otherwise silent envirnment may also summon an image or a feeling of the ripples spreading out.
So we are all equipped with this sensory cross-wiring.

Now, when, for instance I hear a latin rhythm, it "knocks" inside my legs and hips. It's hard to explain that in words. But some unseen force causes my limbs to move synchronously with the beat and my hips to sway in a complex fourrier-synthesised set of waves. This is entirely involuntary and is "suggested" to my body without seemingly going through my conscious mind.
Similarly, a glissando on a guitar may cause my arm to want to move of its own acord upwards and outwards, describing an arc that the sliding note implies with an obviousness that requires purely physical description.

Sometimes, when I have to give a presentation and I am unsure of the material, as I walk up to present, the first bars of the violin from "El Tango de Roxanne" will play in my head, so vividly that I am ceertain it must be audible to those present (Indeed, once I did actually ask a lunch companion if they could "hear that?" and put my head close to theirs. People can be so judgmental sometimes, don't you find?). The strutting gait and almost arrogance implied by the passionate Tango beat cannot fail but induce an almost involuntary strutting and upright confident bearing. It works perfectly for my purposes.

Today, i have in my head, loud as the radio in the car might be in that space, Diana Krall, "Temptation", which is one of the sexiest songs I can imigine and is beautiful to dance to with a lady of a similar receptiveness.

As this is constantly playing in my head, my every move around the place is informed by this internal soundtrack and as a result, I cannot move in any way other than that of a tomcat on a hot sultry night when the air is filled with female-on-heat pheromones.
Luckily, there is almost nobody here to see. But in my mind, each step towards the coffee machine is imbued with a delight in the movement and a joy at the control over my limbs which today feels absolute.

In my head, life is one long dance. Sometimes a strut, sometimes a slink, occasionally a tap dance.

I think I am happy to accept this in exchange for the lack of a capacity for mental visual imagery.

1 comment:

Librarian said...

This was very interesting for me to read, because unlike you, I am one of those visual people who can conjure up mental imagines any time they want - which does have its advantages, but also can be quite disturbing and even frightening when images gained during a traumatic experience (like coming home from work and finding one's husband dead on the floor of the living room) keep resurfacing, unbidden.
In my case, the mental imagery is complemented by an ability (if I may call it that) to actually HEAR written words when I am reading, and I can replay something someone has said or written to me over and over in my mind - again, this can be good when what I am replaying is something nice someone said to me, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.