The King's Speech
seen @ Kew Gardens Cinemas, Kew Gardens, Queens, NY
I talked before about how a grade-school teacher of mine made me aware of my tendency to read aloud too fast as a child. It was more than a little embarrassing to discover I had this problem, as you'd expect, since I was only ten, but it worked, that's for sure. Sometimes, though not often, in casual speech, I'll still get a little tongue-tied, as if I were reading fast again. It's as if my mind can't think of the right words to say, and I'll either hesitate or spit out gibberish. I hate it when I can't think of a given word. Most of the time it's not even a fancy word that I'm thinking of; it's just that my mind goes blank and the word I want is just out of reach.
That's a common thing, don't you think? I mean, we don't go around talking with perfect diction and clarity all of the time, like they do in the movies - well, old movies, anyway. Usually, our speech is peppered with um's, uh's, er's, and of course sixteen million like's. (Ms. Brooks had a thing about too many like's.) We don't care, though, because everybody gets that way at one time or another.
Personally, though, I hate not remembering certain words. And in my case, I don't even try and think of a simpler word instead; my mind will insist on searching for that one word I want to use. Meanwhile, I've stopped speaking and look like an idiot because I haven't finished my sentence.
Acting lessons definitely helped me. I've always liked acting, but taking formal lessons made me more aware of how I sound and how my words come out - not that they ever made me do things like sounding out alliterative phrases or anything like that.
Another thing that helped was my one semester as a deejay at my college radio station. Initially I tried to sound like my favorite deejays, but after awhile I settled back and was myself. I mostly played records; I didn't speak too much while I was on the air - my session was only an hour a week, how could I? When I did speak, though, I limited myself to simple things like time and weather, along with a few weird news items of interest and talking about certain old songs I liked. I recorded a few of my shows on tape for my father (I wish I still had them), and while, like most people, I hate the way my voice sounds when recorded, it was clear, at least.
I'm more satisfied with my speaking voice now. I'll never be completely satisfied with it, but I rarely worry about speaking too fast or blanking on certain words anymore. Still, there were a few moments in The King's Speech that I recognized in myself at certain points in my life, even if I never had an actual stammer. I can easily see why this movie has become so popular; I found it very uplifting.
My street is more than halfway cleared of snow by now, but I still had to wait over 45 minutes for a bus. I actually started walking towards a different bus line on a different street after about a half hour. I ruined another pair of socks when I stepped into a huge puddle of slush thinking it was the sidewalk. It was dark and my mind was on something else. I bought a six-pack of new socks but my shoes still stink. All this and it's not even January yet.
Have a happy new year, everyone. I'll be back on Monday.