Monday, January 29, 2007
Apparently I talk about technology now...
No topic is safe....

Have you heard that the new Microsoft software includes a voice command/speech recognition feature? You wear a headset and dictate text--including punctuation. I heard the story on NPR this morning and immediately started envisioning how I could use this feature in my writing life. It went something like this....

*relaxing on the couch, holding my tea cup, wrapped in a blanket*


Obviously everything I dictate would be art. How could it not be art? I would be wrapped in a blanket. I would be drinking tea. I would let the words come forth...spewing out a stream of brilliant. There would be no keyboard clicking to distract me from my thoughts...I could even walk around and think if I needed to....I talk with enough volume for the computer. Uh huh. There would be walking. There would be conversation. It all sounded so organic. So romantic. SOFREAKINGPERFECT. Yes. I HAVE TO HAVE THIS, I thought. I need the space to walk...and sit...and dictate. I must wear this headset.
(The fact that I am willing to overlook the extreme ridiculousness that headsets represent is significant. I once dated a guy who used a headset for his cell phone. I should have seen that as a warning. But THIS headset. THIS headset is better. More worthwhile)
I will buy it. I will have many, many lovely papers.

But then....then... I remembered what kind of writer I am.

*sitting upright at a table, with many tea cups beside me, staring blankly at the screen for hours*

"SOMEWHAT SMART THINGS*sigh*NO SMART THINGS*expletive*SILENCE*head in hands, much self loathing*STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS*including ellipses and many parenthesis to really explain things in a way that may turn into something smart later*MORE STREAMING*paragraphs that take up multiple pages*"

I don't think this would translate well. How would I dictate ellipses? Would the computer type "bang, bang, bang" when I was beating my head against the wall? Would it type "siiiigh?" If it did, I would throw my computer into the street...and watch from the window until it got run over by a bus. No. Two busses. Yes, the voice command system would force me to throw my computer into the street. I'm sorry, computer.

On a very related note (involving NPR and my writing style)....I just finished reading Sarah Vowell's (contributor to This American Life) Take the Canolli. Here is the best part of the very funny book:

Phone rang. It was Dave, a writer friend. We talked for over an hour, mainly about punctuation. He has big plans for the ellipsis. He’s mad for ellipses. I tell him, yeah, I have similar affection for the parenthesis (but I always take most of my parenthesis out, so as not to call undue attention to the glaring fact that I cannot think in complete sentences, that I think only in short fragments or long, run-on thought relays that the literati call stream of consciousness but I like to think of a disdain for the finality of the period). Dave is trying to decide whether he wants there to be a space before of after the ellipsis. He’s unsure. Is the ellipsis powerful because of what is not said after the dot dot dot, or is it a cheap excuse for not being able to verbalize? Conversely, do we parentheticals want to communicate by cramming more in, thus slapping what we’re not saying in between what we are, officially saying? Or is it because we can’t decide?


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Anonymous d said...

"bang, bang, bang"
that's funny.

Blogger Peppermint Gomez said...

As soon as they have a headset that types out my thoughts, I will buy it and probably go to jail pretty soon after.

BTW: You like tea, we get it.


Anonymous Sexless and the City said...

I couldnt tell if this blog was full of your thoughts or mine... I kept vacillating... is that me? or is that you? are those my words? are they yours? seems to be the plight of the brilliant feminist graduate student. Oh, will we ever learn?

Blogger kristen said...

DT: you already type out all your thoughts. and notice that some of them get censored on this blog. that is because I don't want to go to jail.

Blogger Peppermint Gomez said...

Censorship for the greater good, Eh?

Well thanks for that Dick Cheney.

Blogger Sarah said...

i have used this before and it is really sweet. Sometimes it messes up though and that sucks:) But its great....

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