Paratalk? or Torque

Suzie Eisfelder
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Today I am looking at a paragraph from Voiceworks Issue One Hundred and One. I pick a paragraph at random and will examine it as I choose. Today this paragraph comes from a story by Bam Saengsri called ‘She put mai ben’.

I get off the plane, breathe humid and easy, Melbourne is just beginning to fade into my favourite season, while the Bangkok warmth envelops my lungs. The arrival gate is at the far end of the hall. I count seven long travelators on the way to pick up our bags. Loaded into the airport, everything is exactly Thailand: Korean and Japanese tourists with Mickey Mouse luggage to avoid theft or loss, scuff-marked power cables stuck to the floor with electrical tape, signs in appropriated English written in permanent marker, and a handful of business cards on a cardboard holder, which then seem to shuffle and melt before my eyes.

This paragraph took me right back to Bangkok airport. It is beautifully written with some lovely phrases, more lovely phrases than one paragraph needs, but it still is not overloaded. And that’s what I noticed about Bangkok airport. For us it was a way station, a stop from wherever we were going back home. We were tired, Bangkok airport is huge, but the people were lovely and it was all so neat. There were lots of flowers and it would have seemed too much anywhere else, but in Bangkok it just seemed right.

From this paragraph I have no idea what season Saensgri means by ‘fade into my favourite season’, but it’s really obvious that the author has been in Melbourne. The seasons don’t stop and start, they just gradually fade into one another. I really loved this observation.

That phrase with the business cards shuffling and melting. I know when I’m so tired that my eyes don’t work properly this is exactly how I feel. I’ve never put it into words before but this really hits the spot. It’s when I know that I’ve got to stop working. I’ve been that way on a long flight too, although the flight to Bangkok is less than ten hours, it’s still a long way to go without being able to get out and stretch your legs properly.

I could say a lot more, there’s so much more to unpack about this paragraph. I could get a short essay just on this paragraph alone, but it’d be very self-centred as there’s nothing wrong with it so it’d be all about how the paragraph makes me feel. I’d like to be in Bangkok now to get the humidity into my lungs, that would be just lovely. Instead I’m giving you a link to the Voiceworks website. Enjoy the writing and the subscribe to a magazine, you won’t be disappointed.


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