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Thursday, June 28, 2007
  Writing: making the process visible
A post on the always stimulating IFbook blog, about recording the writing process ("Poetry in Motion"), pointed me to the intriguing QuickMuse. The site is devoted to presenting poets writing poetry. Not videos of poets talking about writing poetry, but screen captures of the actual (almost physical) process of writing.

Each poet was given a stimulus, so Marge Piercy got this quote about exodus:
A people with a moral vision for themselves and humanity emerged through the birth waters of the Sea of Reeds. This vision was created out of the dark night of slavery, from being crushed in the cruel womb of Egypt. They now march toward Mt. Sinai, to meet the Divine Presence that has called them into history.
Rabbi Mordecai Finley
She writes - at least on this occasion, with a short time limit - by slapping the main ideas down fast, and then tinkering till it is "right".

IFbook also pointed to Ian Spiro's fascinating Dlog, at neat Javascript (I think) application that records what you write... So here is me writing a short fragment titled "Writing". (You need Firefox or Safari for this to work, apologies to those with sub-standard browsers ;-) for such impaired folk, and for those without the time (or too lazy) to go watch as you read here is the (final) text:
So this system will visualise the composition process, as well as any mistakes the author makes in transcribing thought to page...

I wonder how such a writing "space" might affect the process of composition. For certainly the "word processor" impacts the way we write [do I need to check the reference for that book?]...

Might putting a recording like this on a blog inhibit, or would we all - good exhibitionists that bloggers are - write rubbish at great speed, or indeed learn to think BEFORE we write - now that would be novel ;-)

I started this with no idea where it was going... and I still do not know how to title it! [I must have missed that bit in skimming the instructions!]

This whole experiment was stimulated by reading the post on the IFbook blog at http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/2007/06/poetry_in_motion.html
and then looking at some of the poems they link to, and then wondering, how would such a tool (if always available) impact writing - after all writing is as interesting as reading!
I've now started wondering what this process does to our reading...

... and how cool it would be if someone produced an edition of Amos that reproduced this using Wolff's redaction critical analysis to make the "edits" would one "see" the canonical shaping process at work more clearly? When I have time I must try...

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