Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Write Stuff

So...having bought into the fact that I get my best ideas when I'm walking or otherwise occupied in something nowhere near a computer or even a pen and paper I have had to resort to other means of recording ideas and random thoughts.  I cannot rely on my mind to remember.  I know, I know, I said that I am a writer in my mind and therefore you might think that all the ideas floating around in my mind would be well-stored there where I could access them at a moment's notice.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  What really transpires is that an idea POPS into my head and if I do not grab it at that moment it just as quickly POPS back out, as if my brain were just a train station in the middle of nowhere in which the passengers (i.e. writing ideas) hop off for a quick trip to the bathroom or to buy something at the vending machine and then hop back on before the train pulls out of the station.

Anyway, back to my dilemma.  No computer, no pen and paper when my best ideas come so what to do?  Technology to the rescue!  I have an iPhone and I will use it!  Let's see, I have an app called "Evernote" denoted by an elephant icon.  It's a handy little thing that let me record audio notes wherever I am.  Perfect!  Problem is, I remember to record the ideas but I forget to retrieve them when I am sitting in front of my computer!  Case in point: I have notes in there dating back nearly 3 years already!!!  Gee whiz!  Admittedly part of the problem is my lousy memory (I'd only like to think that it bad due to my stroke this year but to try to sell that notion would be dishonest.).  The other problem is that the notes are spoken recordings which means they have to be transcribed.  I am not good at transcription.  So, the notes stay safely in Evernote, forever!

Might be easier if I just write them down in the first place.  Could use Evernote but don't need to.  The iphone comes with a handy little yellow "legal" pad, a utilitarian but app with no whistles and bells but an honest, trustworthy method of recording everything from a grocery list to that amazing wine I had in Brooklyn that I want to try to find at home.  Perfect home for "random thoughts."  Oh, you mean like this one? A quote you found in May 2010, 588 days ago?? (not only does it keep track of your notes but it handily attaches the date and time you wrote them and keeps tabs on how many days have passed since you wrote them!  Not sure how this is helpful except to point out the extent to which you procrastinate!)

"Why don't you indulge in a more sophisticated software?  Download Dragon Dictation!" (where do they get these app names?  I mean, I guess I sorta get "Evernote" as in forEver Noted but since when do dragons and dictation go together?  Oh, wait, I think I know!  In my younger years I was introduced to the concept of the "dragon lady" in a corporate setting.  "Dragon ladies" are those women who have been with the company forever, watching others come and go as if through a revolving door, not so much because they are just too indispensable for the company to fire them but more because they are too scary to fire!  It's just best to let them be, as one would when one encounters a sleeping dragon.  In the meantime, they make life miserable for the rest of the support staff!  Anyway, dragon ladies are often found in executive assistant roles in which one might expect that they would at times be called upon to take dictation.  Perhaps this is the genesis of the app name???)

Well, not wanting to appear provincial, I do download Dragon Dictation but I should have known better.   You see, mine is not a voice that marries well with dictation technology.  Let me demonstrate:  a few years ago we were with a health insurance company whose phone system was annoyingly only navigable via voice.  In other words, you didn't have the option of either "saying or texting" your information.  One day I spent at least 3 frustrating minutes, first speaking politely and rationally, then shouting irrationally the date of my birth into the phone to no avail!  "You said: 'April 3, 1969.' Is that correct?" "No!  Marrrrrccccchhhhh thirrrrty-firrrrsssstttt, nineteeeeeeen fiftyyyy eighttttt!"  "You said: 'May 22, 1955.' Is that correct?" "Aaaaaaagggggghhhhhh!!!!!"  After at least 3 minutes she offered, "I'm sorry, I still didn't get that. ("No shit, Sherlock!!!") Let me transfer you to a human being who is capable of understanding your Mickey Mouse little voice."  So, when I dictate the dragon a sentence I wrote above, "You see, mine is not a voice that marries well with technology." the dragon comes back with "you see mine is not a place that Marys well the dictation Knology"  Knology?!  Knology?!  What the hell is "Knology"?!  See what I mean?? I know, I know, in order for the program to work optimally I must speak slowly and loudly and over-enunciate my words.  Whatever!  Did I mention that my brain doesn't hold onto thoughts long?  By the time I am a third of the way dictating my thoughts at glacial speed through a megaphone the other two-thirds of the thoughts have dissipated and the people around me think that I'm either a crazy person or one of those annoying people who thinks that the listener, for whom English is not the first language, will understand what he/she is saying if he/she only repeats it ever louder and slower!

Well, crap.  I'm back at square one.  Which was...where was I?

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