Last week I was lucky enough to play my Irish whistle at a gig where people
danced with abandon and seemed to enjoy the music. How much better does life
get, I wondered? But then, a couple of days later, I came home to a find a
parcel, which contained the new audio book edition of
If You Were Mine.
I had almost forgotten it was in the pipeline, so its arrival was a genuine
I didn't listen to the recording straight away, just appreciated the beautiful
new cover design. But eventually I slipped the CD into a player and was
immediately enchanted by Jane Nolan's amazing reading of the text; her
beautiful clear voice, and perfect diction, brought every word alive. It was a
strange thing, to be listening to my own words spoken by someone else; up until
that moment, the book, with all its different voices, has been completely
confined within my own head.
A professional reading by a skilled actor brings a whole new dimension to the
writer/reader relationship. According to the high falutin theories I have been
reading lately, there are at least three possibilities for the interpretation
of a text: first, the text represents the intent of the author; second, the
text takes on a life of its own beyond the author's intent; third, there are as
many possible meanings to a text as there are readers, because each reader
brings their own history and perceptions to the page. You pays your money and
takes your choice.
Personally, I have never been quite certain of where I stand on this particular
debate. There are ordinary books that never seem to push beyond the intention
of their author while others seem to change a little each time you read them.
I'd like to think that the books I've written might take on a life of their own
in the world, and perhaps they will. The point is that writer and reader are
separate, only connected, in some weird way, by the words on the page. All I
can say is that tuning in to the talking book seemed to add a whole new layer
to that difficult- to-pin-down, reader/writer relationship.
If You Were Mine
is published by
Louis Braille Audio
as an unabridged audio
book. Jane Nolan is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and has
worked in theatre, film television and radio. In 1998 she was the recipient of
the Green Room Award for Best Actress for her role in Faith Healer and in 2006
she was an Award Nominee for her performance in
The Winter's Tale.
television credits include
Other musings on the Writing Life ...