Do Not Underestimate the Power of Making Your Own Sound Effects

“Woosh! Vreck! Wahn!” These are the sounds that my mouth makes while I am lightsaber-battling with my son who remains mostly silent throughout our duel. This kid has no impulse to make any noises because our battery-powered swords do all the work for us. They flash. They vibrate. They crackle. “Kuhr-Sluix!” This is a habit I cannot break––even while wielding a laser-sword only once removed from movie-prop quality. I allow the spittle to build up in my throat so that the next time our blades connect: “Kkkkkrrrrrrrrr!” My boy falls to the ground, not because of my superior swordsmanship but because he can’t control his laughter. “What are you doing?!” He howls. But I can’t hear him. I’m lightyears away in 1985 harvesting downed tree branches and whittling them with a rusted Swiss Army knife that I found half-buried in the mud at the Civic Center baseball diamond. My son swings one last time from the ground and our plastic marvels connect. They blink and fizz. I purse my lips and blow a menacing “Puh-shhhhh!” My mouth is addicted to the explosive sweetness of battle sounds that fueled my suburban imagination, trying with all its pre-pubescent might to deliver me to a galaxy far, far away.

Matthew Schultz teaches a class called Postcolonial Star Wars as a First-Year Writing Seminar at Vassar College. He’s also the editor of an essay collection titled, “Postcolonial Star Wars: Essays on Empire and Rebellion in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

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