spoken word

Voices of the Heart

(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)

23-05-2010 405This session is about reading.

At The Safe House, we have been experimenting a bit with the spoken voice. We think that there is potential for some interesting creative collaboration in this and we would really like to know what you think.


Choose a piece of text, practise reading it aloud, record it, save it and send it to The Safe House.


The stimulus for this session is Derek Mahon’s poem, ‘Everything is going to be alright.’

We posted it recently in Words We Like.

Here it is again:

everything is going to be all right

We have recorded a spoken voice recording of this poem.

Here it is: ‘Everything is going to be alright’ read by Liam Winters.


Liam’s audio recording is just under thirty seconds long. You could choose a longer text, or a shorter one. The text could be of any genre. This is a poem, but you could choose a quotation, even a story if you are up for it. It could be a song. It could be a recipe, a list, a paragraph or a sentence from a book – fiction or non-fiction.
Liam’s recording is soft and gentle. You will decide on the tone you use, the intonation, the emphases, etc. Take a look at the process described below to see what we mean.


factory windowsThink of the things you have read. Is there anything that you carry with you in your head or your heart or which has a special meaning to you? Have you read something recently that made you stop and think?

That is the sort of text we are thinking of for this session.

  • If possible, have a copy of the text on a piece of paper.
  • Read it over several times in your head and out loud. You could ask other people to listen. They might make suggestions as to where you might make changes to your reading. You may want to emphasise certain words for meaning and effect.
  • Note these on your printed copy. This will become your ‘script’.
  • Your reading of the text will call for you to create a mood or changing moods with your voice. What are the moods and emotions that need to be communicated in your text? Consider the ways to create these moods and emotions through your voice.
  • When you have experimented a bit and made your notes to help you with your reading, record a version. At The Safe House, we used a small voice recorder. You could probably use your phone, a computer or any other audio recording device that can create, save and send an MP3 file.
  • Listen to your recording. It could be that when you listen to your recording, it doesn’t sound right. It could be that you get background noise that interferes with the spoken voice. Some background noise could be fine. Other things might not. You will decide.
  • If you need to, record your piece again until you are happy with it. Take your time.
  • Take a break.
  • Come back and listen to it again later.
  • Record again, if you want to.
  • When you are happy with your recording, save it and send it to us at The Safe House.
  • Send your final audio recording as an MP3 file e-mail attachment to: thesafehouse138@yahoo.co.uk

What next?

italian-dog-logo2.jpegHere at The Safe House, we will listen to your recording and give you feedback on it.

We will also discuss with you how we could develop your recording in order to preserve it and share it at:


Big thanks to Liam Winters and Emma Gibson for being at The Safe House for reading, recording and editing!