Posts in Category: text

NPR: How It Sounds


A little while back I discovered this NPR segmet, #howitsounds, that attempts to share a snapshot with sound instead of text or image. As I’m often making ambient sound recordings at home I thought it would be fun to put something together. I did, NPR published it, here you go.

Screen grab from original post above, audio file below.

In retrospect, what happened next was entirely predictable. Hundreds of people took to the comment boards to bemoan my existence. Some were kind, some were mean but at least clever, most just dull. “Trust fund brat, closeted gay, probably listens to bands no one has ever heard of, winner of the ‘most punchable face’ award,” et al. An obvious misunderstanding of the #howitsounds project and a xenophobic¬†cultural anger permeated the comments.¬†Since I’m a stable person I don’t seek validation or advice from strangers on the Internet. Also, something about sticks and stones and rubber and glue.

As so many things are, this became an interesting exercise in identity and self-worth. Unintentionally, the venomous commenters have only made me appreciate my fortune more. As David Foster Wallace taught me, “I am certain I am not the center of the universe,” even when the comment boards think I am.

Here’s the story for visual learners, click to embiggen:


“What a wee little part of a persons life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of water – and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden – it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night nor day. These are his life, and would make a whole book of eighty thousand words – three hundred and sixty-five books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man – the biography of the man himself cannot be written.”

Mark Twain