Experiencing Amnon Wolman
Reading / Reflections/ Reactions on June 13, 1999 by Amnon Wolman:
I am at home. It is calm and relaxed. I am sitting on my couch, and I begin to read. My boyfriend is playing Bach nicely on the piano in the background, and the sound of cars driving over a wet street lightly comes in through the window. I can hear the sound of the keyboard clicking while I write what I imagine as I read.
I decide to let myself imagine the sounds like as I read his text. I don’t have to, but I decide to.
I’m not a big fan of the sound of waves. So I’m quick to stop imagining it when allowed. I love the sound of birds. I draw on the sounds I’ve heard before and easily reconstitute the atmosphere, the communication between the birds. I feel that I am on the beach but for some reason, maybe because it’s the last beach I visited, I am in Brighton not Cannes. So it’s windy and not sunny, but I can imagine the chatter of people floating in and out of coherency. At first I try to just “hear” French sounds without absorbing the meaning the words, but I have to change to Spanish. I’m too familiar with French; it’s a language I speak well. Spanish, much less. Then I need to imagine a language that doesn’t exist or one that I don’t know at all. This triggers a thought about how I spend too much time trying to understand languages these days and not enough just listening to their musical qualities. Yet the two are intertwined. I have to struggle quite a bit to imagine people sounding ominous without knowing what they’re saying. I’m not sure what that sounds like...it’s so different in each language. I struggle to think what ominous sounds like.
But I am relieved when I can imagine the sound of the ball on the beach and feel without actually hearing. I like sensing the presence of something that is on the edge of being heard. You sense it more than hear it. I can feel that experience. I know what he wants and means.
I can imagine a woman making a speech and a father reprimanding his daughter. It’s in French. I don’t know if it’s cheating, but I understand everything they say.
I hear imaginary voices, not that of my own reading voice.
My boyfriend stopped playing piano at some point while I was reading the text. I didn’t notice that moment. But when asked to imagine a melody, I can’t help but hear the Bach. It’s so lovely, but it’s familiar. I’m surely cheating. I hear my boyfriend’s voice humming it in my mind. He’s not actually humming now, but it’s the first voice that pops up. His voice is very distinct to me—in a good way.
Ah, and then Brigitte and her voice. “Sheesh, really?” is the first thought that comes to my mind.
At the end of the experience, I feel different than after simply reading a book or a text. I had been focusing on the sonic quality of ideas inside of me. This can happen sometimes when reading, but usually I am more focused on the content and ideas. After this, I feel more in tune to my internal sonic worlds.