Thursday, January 03, 2008

Male Chests, The National Book Award, and the Future of "Writing" by Diana Holquist

It's impossible to blog after Elizabeth Hoyt. Just simply impossible. I always have some vague blog in mind, then I come here, and see Elizabeth's brilliant and enlightening musings, like yesterday's on male chests--hairy vs. smooth, and I'm done. Positively done. Especially today, because I wanted to blog about Richard Powers and his National Book Award winning novel, The Echo Maker.

Wait--don't go!:

This is NOT Richard Powers. This is my contribution to the smooth/hairy debate begun by Elizabeth in the last post.

Anyway, what is so fascinating about Richard Powers, is that he wrote The Echo Maker using voice recognition software. He didn't type it. He spoke the book. He believes that speaking vs. typing are two completely different processes, and that typing is artificial and extremely unnatural. Like for instance, this man's extremely smooth chest:

Can anyone identify whose chest is above? Famous chest... Anyway, what was I saying? Right: When I look back on the likes of say, Jane Austen, writing away with her dip pen (historical authors note: no, I don't know the correct name for Jane's pen, that's why I write only contemporary), I wonder how she ever managed such a polished book. Will the writers of the future look back on us typists as completely quaint and retro? Like for instance, a man who looks like this?:

Anyway, this got me interested enough in male chests, I mean, in voice recognition software, to try it. Has anyone out there ever "written" this way? Anyone still use pen and paper? A typewriter? Do you think that Richard Powers is ahead of the curve and we'll all be speaking our books soon? Would you want to read a book "written" this way?

And who WAS that second chest? (The first chest is the model on the cover of Sexiest Man Alive--who, if you'll note has a smooth chest on his, er, "head" shot and a not-so-smooth chest on the cover of Sexiest Man Alive. Hmm...)


Shari Anton said...

Diana, I think you did an excellent job of following Elizabeth :).

I use pen and paper, desktop computer, the laptop, an Alpha Smart, and Dragon Naturally Speaking. All depends on the mood I'm in. Sometimes changing the method gives the Muse a kick in the ... backside. Sometimes that's necessary :).

Shari, who wants the chests identified!

Diana Holquist said...


Really.....? I am so fascinated. How do you like the Dragon sofware? And can you really go back and forth? I try paper and pen every so often, and it's a total bust. I can't get anywhere with it.

Anyone on chest #2? Anyone? We're talking super famous, although I suspect this is his chest at a younger stage.


Barbara Vey said...

ok, wild guess on the hairy chest...Vin Diesel??

Susan Crandall said...

All right ladies, seriously. Male chests, when sculpted and yummy (as all of the illustrations indicate) ... who gives a crap hairy or smooth? Isn't there a place for both in this world?
Should we have to choose???
I say NO!!!
Stand up with me, women of the world and be counted.
If they look like those photos, I'll take them fuzzy, furry, slick, smooth ... oiled. You get my point.

Shari Anton said...

I love Dragon, Diana. Feels a little awkward at first because it's kind of like talking to yourself :), but once you get the rhythm of dictating, it's wonderful. I use it mostly for first drafts, when I want the energy and don't worry too much about punctuation. Dictating also saves the wrists some strain, and that's always a good thing.

Shari, who thinks Susan has a point but still prefers hairy :)

HelenK said...

Your post had me laughing so much, my DH came over to see what I was reading. It's hard to explain the male chests and National Book Award in one post. I don't think he bought it. :) But I loved them!

I think chest number 2 is Arnold in his younger days?

Kate Diamond said...

I have no idea on the chest.

But in terms of the writing technology... I've been known to use pen and paper on a first draft, when I'm struggling to smother the editor within. If I'm typing at this stage, I spend at least half the time opening new document files and obsessively rewriting a paragraph or two.

Georgie Lee said...

I'm about to start using Dragon Naturally Speaking because typing has taken a toll on my hands. I'm excited about learning to use it.

All those hunky chests makes it hard to concentrate on the blog :-)

Diana Holquist said...

And the chest is: Brad Pitt.

Okay, you guys have me inspired; I'm going to try the software. It seems from what I've read that Dragon N.S. is the one to choose. I'm hoping it'll help my kids, too. They have to do all these school reports, but they can't type and it's painful to watch.

HelenK: I'm hoping that Richard Powers has himself on Google Alert and will read this post and think: that's it, the world as we know it is over. I just love riling up "literary" writers...I almost always here from them after I blog about them.


Elizabeth Hoyt said...

whoa. Brad's looking mighty fine, there, Diana. I'm so glad that my blog about male chests: hairy vs. smooth has led to your literary blog. Let us know what richard Powers thinks, too. (Though his theory about speaking the book sounda a little . . . pretentious.)

Diana Holquist said...

Pretension and the National Book Award? What are you saying Elizabeth?

Yeah, those big literary awards may not love the romance genre, but we sure have a lot more fun, don't we?