Novel Writing… Live!


I was holding off for some sort of e-divine inspiration to strike me so that I could make my post on technology. It didn’t really happen, but this is what came to me in the last day:

I was thinking about a story I’d heard, of how people are doing studies with gorillas or chimps (some kind of simian) using iPads. Long story short, they can use them somewhat. I’m not too surprised – I’ve seen them and other animals work with human symbols before (Maybe the bigger question is why bother?). Then I started thinking about how I thought at the start of this course that technology is tools… and that, the best ones, perhaps, are the most usable – in that different cultures could use them for their intended purpose or something else. So… something like an iPad is an awesome tool, but maybe not as important as a pointed stick, if you catch my train of thought.

Somehow, in my mind’s strained technological ramblings, I thought of Monty Python and their novel writing sketch. It’s the audio sketch posted above. Essentially, Thomas Hardy is penning “The Return of the Native”, live, in front of an audience, and it’s being commentated as a sporting event. I serve it to you as my example of how a technology (writing) maybe be thought of in different ways, done in different venues, done for different purposes, etc. It’s a good example of writing about, well, writing.

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2 Responses to Novel Writing… Live!

  1. kstooshnov says:

    Brilliant use of Pythonesque wit, Steve, and comparing the usefulness of an iPad to that of a pointed stick may bring to mind another classic sketch, Self Defense.

    Thinking about the novel writing sketch, perhaps one of the remediations mentioned in Bolter (2011) Writing Spaces is how newer technology has “greater immediacy than its predecessors” (26) with writing, in this case a novel, taking place of the oral tradition of storytelling. No literate person in their right mind would sit through an entire day watching someone write a novel, as the sketch plays up as a sporting event, but listening to a bard compose an epic tale required that much immediacy. With digital media and hypertext, there seems to be a new audience for watching words as they are typed onto the screen (Jerry’s post with the Machine is Us/ing Us is an example of one of these popular videos).

    And this current trend in presenting text may be changing too, and soon. I was really hoping to see, with the recent release of the iPhone5, an upgrade of Siri and more voice recognition, but it looks like we will have to wait a bit longer for the next remediation of writing technology.


    • mcquaid says:

      The use of “pointed stick” was no accident. Glad to see you notice that! I referenced that skit in class last week.

      Siri and such things as a writing technology feels odd to me… I don’t disagree with it. It just feels a little weird to be co-creating text / conversation with the same computerized “personality” that everyone else uses, too… seems inauthentic, you know? Maybe the iPhone 6 will have a mini-holodeck app…

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