Slice of Life Story- Vivid Verbs and The Sound of Silence

I was driving yesterday morning and thinking about my day's work. In particular I was thinking about revision strategies and the way vivid verbs enhance writing when young writers are taught to use them to greater effect. Looking closely at the verbs in a writing piece is a great way to revise a writing piece. The reader’s ability to visualize is greatly enhanced when vivid verbs are consciously employed.  They are the muscles of writing in the same adjectives are the fat. Well, at that precise moment as I lingered in that verb vibe, my trusty ipod threw up a golden oldie in the form of Simon and Garfunkel's 'Sounds of Silence' and it was as if I were listening to the lyrics for the very first time. My awareness was suddenly heightened and the power of the verbs struck me. And the connection was complete.

‘When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light that split the night and touched the sound of silence…’

Wow, what a great use of verbs to aid the listener; the reader. ‘Sounds of Silence’ was my first album purchase and with that my collection of music began. Yet, despite all those years of hearing that particular song, I had failed to register with the strong nature of the verbs in the lyrics. I not only read differently now, but I also listen differently. Katie Wood Ray, I thank you for this.  As I looked down the vast hallway of my memory, recollection of that song in that far away time came surging back. Music and memory fused together in a sudden moment of recall of a schoolboy’s purchase. A time when school days were nearing an end, and summer was calling out to an uncertain teenager with a head full of dreams and aspirations.

Musical memories work like a time machine conveying us back to the misty recesses of our earlier life. When music connects to memory, it evokes strong recollections of past events. It is in those musical connections that we conjure up memories of angels, ghosts, hope and heartache. Vivid verbs and vivid memories –what a combination!

And in the neon light I saw ten thousand people maybe more…


  1. Your post wants me to start listening to music a bit more carefully. Thanks Alan!

  2. I love how you call to music lovers to listen carefully to the words and their meaning! I wrote a similar post the other day about how melodies can bring back a memory. Check it out:


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