Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recitation and Declaration

Although children at Pilot Mountain School memorized everything from basic reading words to presidents to state captials, the majority of stories I caught about memorization was connected to the yearly competition known as Recitation and Declaration.

The upper grade children would select a piece of literature to memorize and present to a panel of judges. They studied. They memorized. They practiced. When competition day arrived, they had one chance to do it right. One chance.

The schools I personally attended growing up never adopted this recitation tradition. Oh, I had to memorize, especially the Psalms in eighth grade, and the Gettysburg address in maybe fifth grade. But as far as competition, no.

Perhaps I should have gone through this process because I had a chance to post a "read by author" segment of my book at Southern Writers Magazine online.
This month they opened their online "Take Five" to promote writers who are from the southern United States or who write about these southern states. I qualify on both counts, not born in the south, but raised here, the school certainly southern. The format is a five minute audio presented through a casual, "spend a few minutes listening to an author read her own work."

It sounded so simple. I knew my work, knew what segment I wanted to read. I practiced a bit, learned the system from my computer, and then started to record. The first time I finished maybe ten sentences before I pronounced a word incorrectly. The second, even less. The third, fourth, fifth...you get the picture. Four and a half hours later I made it through the entire five minutes, not perfectly, but acceptably.
Here's your invitation: Go to the Take Five page, find Lessons Learned and hear my voice as I read parts of several pages. While you are there, listen to the other authors as well. We want to do more than entertain. We want to share our books with you and in reality, share a bit of ourselves with you.

Just like those children performing in the Recitation and Declaration so many years ago.

Catch of the day,


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