This post is in the Autoethnography category

Dear Reader

Screen-writing – an interesting concept – writing on the screen.  Of course we’re talking about typing on a laptop here, but more than that, its somehow about narrative, story telling, the “movie of me”, complete with carefully defined images and accompanying music.  The “director” wants to give you some freedom to move around, but also to give you a certain experience.

In fact we rarely “write” anymore in the physical sense, and its strange that we still use this old-wordism, which comes from a word meaning to “carve”, to describe the process.  For me the process of physical penmanship is so different to “screen writing” via the keyboard as to be unrelated.  The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword but it is also an instrument that challenges my fine motor skills and my tendency towards gestural diminuendo produces a messy visual aesthetic that I can hardly bear to look at, let alone entrust my “self” to.  I often can’t read it myself.

It hasn’t always been that way of course, back in the days Before Computers I used to write barely legible letters, every couple of days to the girl who became the woman who became my wife, and to whom I have begun to write again, this time via somewhat cryptic and individual txt and emoticons complete with those fabulous T9 “automatic” word choices that I never seem to notice – “On way home” = “No way good” according my Samsung.  I guess she is getting used to guessing again.

There is a strong correlation between Galbraith’s “writing as knowledge-constitution” (Galbraith, 1999) and composing as music creation. It is interesting to reflect on the idea that knowledge-constitution is a process of the intellect and music-creation is in some way a process of the emotions. The technological way of making music – computers, sequencers, synthesis, audio manipulation – appeals to my way of making meaning – it grows, it is not a process of transcription from the mind, or even discovery. It is possible that the composition process, this Moment, is the one time I can connect directly with my heart, for in much of my life, the connections from brain to heart and back again are conscious virtual constructions. “I think I feel like …”

The thing about writing, be it music or prose, is that often we don’t know what it is that we want to say when we start. Sometimes we don’t know what it was when we have finished – and are a little surprised when we read it, or hear it back.  I say “we” – or is it just me?

Leave a Reply