Travels in Video

Come, join us in our travels across Asia. Now you can hear the sounds and see the sights in motion. After long hours (hat tip to Jerry) and a fair bit of back-and-forth, we’re introducing the book trailer to This Way More Better. See it here.

What a learning curve! We’re still new to this, recording our work in sound and motion. And now that we’ve created this footage, I know what I will do differently next time. Sound is such a tricky thing. It’s hard to get the mood just right. It’s tough to block the wind or exclude that rumbling motorbike from the background. Then again, sometimes that belching moto is exactly the sound you want to include.

Recording sound forces me to think about my writing through other senses. I spent a lot of time talking about this in the nonfiction course I just wrapped up teaching at Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop. As a writer, it’s so easy to think in terms of quotes or the things we see. But how often do we incorporate tastes, sounds, smells and textures into our words? How often do we let our senses overlap in our descriptions? One participant in the course struggled with how to describe the smell of coffee. Perhaps the answer lies within its associations, through our other senses—how does coffee sound? How does it feel, hot on the tongue on a cold winter morning? How do we picture the steam rising from a mug? Sometimes a certain thing is best depicted through the world around it. Often, this is the case for food.

I recently read Barb Stuckey’s fascinating book, Taste What You’re Missing. I love the way she explains that single sense through all the others. Take, for example, her entry on “The Sound of Texture.” Studies show that the crunching sound of a potato chip in the mouth influence eaters’ perceptions of how delicious that chip really is. The crunchier the sound, the tastier people believe the chip to be.

In some ways, I understand these distinctions as I go back through the recordings I’ve taken in Asia. The sound of a market (listen to the start of the video), to me, evokes as much imagery as a picture. Just as the sounds of crickets and frogs will put me right back at that pepper plantation where we stayed in a breezy wooden home overlooking Cambodia’s prized spice.

So, welcome to the journey. We hope you’ll have a look and a listen, and enjoy the ride.

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Brunch on a Lao roadside while waiting for a jackknifed truck to be cleared from the scene.

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