December 26, 2012

The Lost Art of the Spoken Word. ~ Jen McKelvie

photo : jen mckelvie

Making Words Sound like Music:

Watching his body move with the ebb and flow of his words I am reminded of the power of spoken language.

Visions of old storytellers weaving cultural histories like magic protective cloaks for tribes and neighborhoods dance across my eyes. I can hear the oral histories taking root and growing stronger with each rendition told around a fire, kitchen table, while being rocked to sleep.

This kind of spoken word used to be a prized possession, an actual profession. These floating syllables held power with truth and exaggeration; they were the wise professor, a teacher who gripped you with emphasis, lyricality, pattern and prose. For years, spoken tradition was the space one entered for guidance, advice and wisdom. For connections to the past through historic re-tellings. Morals and ethics woven specifically for the listener to journey with.

We have shifted with the onslaught of books, computers and phones from a culture of active talking to a culture of passive talking. Storytelling has lost its verbal flair. Our bodies no longer pulse with the formation of words birthed from the mists of our brains and coursing through our veins to be pushed from our mouths uncontrollably.

It takes passion and guts to publicly display your words and even more gumption to stand in front of others and let the sounds fly, let your movements be consumed by the noise and the pause. Allowing others to feel the wind of your words, releasing ownership and giving freedom to the syllables, so they become our words and we all pulse under their charm, feeling the deepness of each rhyme, pause and release.



Jen McKelvie lives and works on the island of Manhattan, the first place she has ever been happy to return to after time away. Her soul flies highest when she is wandering the streets laughing too loudly with best friends. She loves yoga, her dog and green juice.
You can connect with Jen @jenny_jump_up or here: jmckelvie.com.


Ed: Brianna B.

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