ESSAY Ed Garland

NWR Issue 118

They Can Be Heard

She encouraged me to have my ears tested. The first audiologist said the results were ‘pretty nasty’ and urged me to consider hearing aids. The second one was less sure about that. Hearing aids can cost half a year’s salary or more. They don’t restore your hearing as it was. It’s more like they give you an amplified sound-world to navigate. They can open up new channels of irritation as well as understanding. It might be more rewarding, and it’s certainly cheaper, to work on changing the emotional response to the physical injury. I could try to listen more calmly to whatever sounds make themselves available to me.

Bathurst describes the usefulness of alternative approaches to sound: ‘If, instead of thinking of it as just noise, we thought of it as pressure or saw it as curves in the shape of time and space, then perhaps it would be easier to grasp its potential.’ I think fiction can show us how to do this, just like it can alert us to the dangers of totalitarianism or describe the pleasures of meaningful work...

Ed Garland is a part-time student on the MA in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. His writing has appeared in Antic magazine, A Glimpse Of, and various collaborations with the illustrator Inkymole. He is from Greater Manchester, and lived in Leicester and Bristol before moving to Aberystwyth with his wife in 2016. He was awarded a BSc in Music Technology from DeMontfort University in 2005. He works as a copywriter. He has worked as a court clerk, a climbing instructor, a poster seller, and many other things and is on Twitter at @EdGarland9. ‘They Can Be Heard’ is an edited extract from the winning entry to the
New Welsh Writing Awards 2018: Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection; that entry was called ‘Fiction as a Hearing Aid’, and can be viewed in our film trailer. Ed’s collection will be published in book form on our New Welsh Rarebyte imprint in late 2019.

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