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By Fritzy Dean
His voice is by turns harsh, commanding, demanding - then smooth, silky, seductive. I am held motionless, captivated, not wanting to miss a word or even a syllable. He voice is close, intimate - next to my ear.
I gently adjust the pillow, not wanting to disturb him or the story he is telling. Oh, good, he didn’t notice my small movement. He continues as I relax more and more into what I have come to think of as “our” bed.
It has taken me some time to get comfortable having this voice, and I admit it, other voices in bed with me. As a book lover, I read myself to sleep for as long as I can remember. Then with age came one of what Shakespeare called “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” I developed macular degeneration and can no longer read in bed. I can barely read at all.
I resisted getting an e-reader for a long time. As a senior citizen, I was slow to embrace technology. I felt fearful and inadequate, but missed reading SO much, I gave in and got a Kindle. While it is not the same as reading an actual book, it keeps me from feeling so deprived of my first and strongest love - reading.
With the Kindle mastered (sort of), I was finally brave enough to get an audio book reader and subscribe to Audible. A tech savvy friend set it up for me.
So now, here I am - in bed with my electronic device and my latest book.
This particular book is being read by an actor, a good one, too. He is able to sound like the different characters do, changing his voice appropriately. He is able to project the changing moods of the plot. He is a superb teller of tales.
Unfortunately, not all of the readers are. Especially disappointing is to learn that some of my favorite writers are AWFUL readers. The first book I downloaded read by the author almost turned me against him. His “writing” voice (the one I heard in my head, was deep and melodious. The voice coming from the device was high pitched and nasal, like a hillbilly with a bad cold.
Oh, PLEASE hire an actor next time!
Of course, some authors ARE good readers and what a treat that is. I remember, in particular, Barbara Kingsolver reading Unsheltered. She knew EXACTLY where to put emphasis, where to pause, where to glide along. She wrote it, after all, and she was a wonderful guide for the listener.
There have been other such lovely surprises. Pride and Prejudice read by NO, NOT Jane Austen, but by a full cast of actors. I smiled the whole way through. Such a lovely bedtime story.
I called this little essay, Sleeping With The Enemy because of my fear of, and reluctance to embrace technology. However, recently I began to encounter a word that must have been coined by the millennials – frenemy.
From the way it is used I assume it means someone or something you love in spite of yourself. Something you would love to hate, but just can’t - so perhaps I should rename this, because I certainly intend to continue sleeping with the frenemy.
[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]