Wednesday, 19 October 2011

more reading

So this is the second transcription I'm uploading for those of you who like to read your conversations as well as listen to them. It's a conversation between Chris and Jacqui called normal people and you can download it here.

As you'll see and hopefully hear as well (if you choose to download and listen to it or click here to listen in iTunes) their life has been anything other than normal in some ways.

This is a conversation between a husband and wife. But it's also a conversation Between Friends, which became the title of the project I premiered at Latitude Festival in the summer of 2009, as part of the Intimate Conversations series. I published the audio shortly afterwards and it's had hundreds of listens since then. Now perhaps it'll have a few reads as well.

For me, reading this conversation as opposed to listening to it, it's impossible for me not to notice how precise both Chris and Jacqui are sometimes in the words they choose.

Sometimes their precision is at the service of simply being accurate. Like when they dispute where and when it was they first kissed.

At other times they're careful to avoid using words that might hurt each other. The tenderness is often in what they choose not to say as much as it is what they do.

And towards the end, there's a little something they do that tells me just how much they love each other.

And it's in the questions they ask each other.

They're specific but never precious.

They're deliberate but never clever.

But perhaps most importantly, beyond the directness and the straight-forward, down to earth candour that's so easy to hear and even to read, what I most enjoy and maybe if I'm honest even envy them for, is their kindness.

So thanks Chris. Thanks Jacqui.

And here's to friendship within marriage.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

reading conversations

I'm finally releasing transcriptions of some of the conversations I've recorded, edited and published.

And here's the first. It's the conversation between Adrian Howells and myself. It's called prepared to love. (You can read more about the conversation here and download the audio here.)

I created and designed t
he audio edit to be listened to.


My work is essentially audio. And I'm delighted to say it has been listened to. A lot. It's been downloaded, played online and via iTunes more than a thousand times so far.

But some people have said they'd like to read some of the conversations I've had.

So I'm responding to those requests by publishing some of the transcriptions.

But what started as a way of giving people what they were asking for has become more than that, in two ways worth mentioning.

First, as I've begun to read the conversations, I've noticed how different they are in visual form. How uninflected. How neutral.

And I'm surprised by how much the written word objectifies the content. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised by that, but it's caught me off guard to see how much is missing in the written word that's provided through the audio word.

But the second thing is exactly the opposite of the first.

It seems to me that the written form is revealing the content as well as concealing it.

I've noticed things I haven't noticed before.

I've seen things I haven't heard.

I've noticed things about my questions. And their answers.

Missed opportunities.

Seized and unseized moments.

So that's been interesting. And educational.

And one other thing that's been interesting for me: the spaces in the conversations. And how to mark them.

When people talk, they often stop briefly in unusual places. In a way that people don't do when they write.

And sometimes it's in those little gaps people leave (rather than in the words they say) that you catch the mood, the emotion, the uncertainty, the difficulty or simply the choices they make. Those small signals in what's not said that can indicate more sometimes than what is said.

But the question is: how to mark these subtle spaces in the written form?

I don't much like dot dot dot...

It makes it look like a drifting away. And often when people pause briefly, it's anything but a drifting or a fade away. Often the breaks are unexpected. And they certainly don't make sense to read. Not at first anyway. Which is why I think they're so important. There's something very spoken about these written words.

So I wanted to preserve the breaks. I think they tell the listener that someone needed to stop talking just for a short time, maybe simply in order to say the next thing.

So, after much thought, I've gone for a slash. A light grey slash.

Like this /

And it seems to be working /

so I'll keep going with that if that's okay.

Finally, I want to say thank you to Miss Molly Grier who's been working on the transcriptions with me recently. Molly and her family have come into my life in a very gentle way this year. Apart from the fact that Molly's intelligence and honesty have been a fresh and lovely influence in the way I think about some of the conversations I've been having recently, she's also been listening and transcribing some of the podcasts for me. And she's doing a grand job. So thanks Molly. You and your work are much appreciated.

So - enjoy the transcriptions if you're visually inclined.

Adrian and prepared to love will soon be joined by:

Anjelo and when saw myself on fire here. (Audio on iTunes here.)

Jane in why not me? (Audio here).

Another Adrian (a pain doctor) in you don't talk here. (Audio on iTunes here.)

And Chris and Jacqui in normal people here. (Audio on iTunes here.) And you can read more about this conversation on the blog here.

Thanks for listening.

And for reading.