I'm always amazed by those scenes in old movies where some fatcat executive dicatates a letter to his secretary. Miss Cranston, take a memo! he'll say and on he'll go speaking in perfect sentences rattling off line after line of 1950s business speak. I'm amazed because I think that's not just a silly old movie thing. I think a few people can actually do that. But not most. And certainly not me.
Today I'll prove it. I'm dictating this blog update with my newest toy: Dragon NaturallySpeaking. It's a computer program that allows you (supposedly in parentheses in the parentheses I said I hadn't parentheses. Let's try that again.
It is a program that allows you parentheses supposedly parentheses. Damn.
Obviously I haven't figured out how to do parentheses yet. So I'll rephrase. Dragon naturally speaking is a program that supposedly allows you to dictate your communications as if you were the fatcat executive with Ms. Cranston sitting before your desk.
We bought Dragon NaturallySpeaking for our nine-year-old daughter thinking it would help her with her homework. She's a great talker and a great reader but writing can sometimes be a challenge for her. But I have to wonder how helpful Dragon NaturallySpeaking will really be.
And it's not just because I can't figure out how to do parentheses. The path from your brain to your mouth is pretty short. Getting words out through your fingers requires a longer and trickier journey and a lot more effort. But that effort pays off in the form of structure, pickiness and all around polish.
Not pickiness. That was supposed to be seeing this. No. Pickiness. No. He has seen this. No.
Well, apparently Dragon NaturallySpeaking doesn't know the word that is spelled P I T H I in E ass ass. Oh my God. You're going to think I did that on purpose. I said P I T H I in E at ass.
Christ, it won't even let me spell it.
There is a word that means to have great tests. Tests? Pig. Oh Lord.
I'll just go back to the point I was trying to make. True writing, good writing, doesn't just require revisions when you're done with the first draft. It requires constant revising, word by word I word. For instance: I'm not happy with a lot of the phrasings here. I would love to be able to tinker with my word choices. But I'm not going to give myself that option. You're getting exactly what's coming out of my mouth. Okay well not exactly what's coming out of my mouth. But what's coming out of my mouth as far as Dragon NaturallySpeaking can figure it out. I'm speaking extemporaneously.
Any who, dictating is not writing. Writing requires forethought and what I'll call during the thought. Close enough. Point being writing and speech are not the same and shouldn't be thought of as the same. So I don't know about this for homework and God knows I won't be using it for future blog posts.
But it is kind of fun to play with. Let's see what it does with this: in a got a Davida honey, don't you know that I love of you? In a got a Davida honey, don't you know that I'll always be true?
Obviously, the designers of Dragon naturally speaking are not big iron butterfly fans. But then again who is?
Okay, enough Tom fool airy. It's time to come up with a headline for this post. I'm going to sit here and think of one and when I say it out loud whatever Dragon NaturallySpeaking thinks it is I'll be stuck with. Here goes.
The not so great dictator.
Hey that's right. Maybe I could get this thing to work after all.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking, take a memo!