When the Grasshopper reads, I wonder what she hears.
When I read, I used to hear the words in my head as if I was speaking with the voices of the characters, as if they were telling the story to me in my own voice. I would carefully pronounce strange names in my mind and almost whisper the dialogue. By middle school, I lost that. Too many books, too fast, and my reading pace increased from a clip to a run. Now, I don’t hear voices at all when I read. A cousin of mine in Japan talked about reading Kanji, how it is like an instant data dump of information into your mind. For me, so is reading English. I don’t have time to hear the words or the voices. The book simply connects with my brain and we sync our data. I like the intimacy of this. The words disappear and instead of letters and punctuation, I see colors and hills and people living their lives. I step into an alternate reality like Neil Stephenson’s Metaverse.
Still, looking over at my daughter reading, her lips whispering the words, I wonder. Does she hear the words in her head yet? Do the characters speak to her in her own voice?