I’ve become a huge fan of audio books over the past few years. They allow me to listen to so many great works of literature while attending to many a household chore. They also keep my mind churning while I’m pedaling away on a stationary bike at the gym.
It should be noted that so much depends on the skills of the narrators. The best don’t simply read the book; they perform. The talented ones change accent, pitch and tone. For an example of excellent narration, check out Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work on Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Then, there are others… others whose readings make me… cringe. So right now, I’m listening to an interesting, colorful novel… that has a narrator… who keeps making mouth noises. Swallowing, smacking, the sound of saliva… I’ll stop the alliteration now, I’m sure you get it. K gifted me AirPods for Christmas, so I feel like this woman and her moist mouth is hovering unseen but quite heard every time I hit play. Worse, all that oral racket stays reverberating in my head long after I hit stop.
Right around the time Z introduced me to The Odd1sOut, she played his video on the phenomena known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, ASMR, for short. I was immediately amazed that one, yes, this is a thing (like Catster), and two, that PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE HEARING OTHER PEOPLE CHEW. I mean, WHAT THE WHAT??? Alright, let’s go to Mashable for an explainer:
A few things: if you’ve known about this for the past few years and are all, “Duh,” I was pretty busy in 2015 and 2016. Also, in all fairness, I understand this. Actually, I think I experience ASMR. Ever since I was about 3, I remember getting a tingly feeling when my mom would rub my back or when my she’d sing certain songs (like this one by Minnie Riperton). Little goosebumps would pop up all over my arms, and I’d feel relaxed. Pretty much the exact feeling I’d get if I listened to anything on here.
There’s definitely power in what we hear. Sentences, songs, and yes, even sounds can trigger thoughts and feelings long after we hear them. They can calm or enrage. Isaiah 30:21 tells us that when we follow God, we can count on Him to say the best words: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Spiritual guidance, guaranteed to elicit strong responses that’ll benefit all your senses. Without any (shudder) mouth noises.