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March 30, 2010


David Kay

Yikes! I just listened to "Alex" read two pages of my most recent effort.

I had enjoyed it before. As I read it, It was erudite, well-researched yet approachable, thoughtfully structured, and satisfying. My only criticism? Perhaps too derivative of Tom Robbins essays, with his trademark playful use of language that, while fun, still evokes the wrenching tragedy of our shared humanity.

Instead, Alex made it sound like one of those sessions at an academic conference where an ernest bore wastes an hour of your life reading from single-spaced pages held in quietly shaking hands.

He didn't find any errors in grammar or usage, although his pronunciation of "crowdsourcing" made me check the original for typos. But goodness, he made me feel like I'd written Vogon poetry.

So, thanks for the advice. But if that's reality, I choose to reject it.


Marilynne Rudick

Perhaps Apple will upgrade the application so that you could choose to have Alec Baldwin--not Alex-- read your prose, or better yet, James Earl Jones. But the upside of Alex's boring drone is that it forces you to focus on the mechanics and not be seduced by the melody of your writing.

I admit, I had to go to Wikipedia to find out about Vogons--fictional alien race in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-- and, according to Wikipedia, writers of "the third worst poetry in the universe."

I'm now curious about the first and second worst writers of poetry. Stiff competition for Alex!


Val S.

This sounds fun, if brutal, and my husband just bought a Mac! (It's so cool I can only wear black when I use it). Years ago we had a Mac with PageMaker installed. One time the Speech command got turned on by mistake, and a feminine robotic voice startled us by saying that "Pajama-ker" was having a printing problem! It was endearing.

Marilynne Rudick

I agree with you about how cool the Mac is. And I know what you mean by wearing black when you use it. It is so sleek and beautifully designed that I feel a compulsion to clean my office so that it is as uncluttered as the Mac. (But I manage to resist the compulsion to clean!)

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