Jun 5, 2010

Distilling the Cry of my Heart

As my disease progression has gone bulbar, I am losing my ability to speak. It started with my ability to sing, and now if I talk too much or too loudly I wear out my voice very quickly. It is a philosophically interesting journey. The cliche is "talk is cheap“, and it certainly used to be. I am downright garrulous, and I have yakked late into the night about the most trivial of topics. I shudder to think how many hours I have spent comparing Star Trek series, D&D classes, or debating the best theoretical voting system.

Talk is no longer cheap, but instead priced fairly high. I have to think about how worthwhile a comment is, and like internet posting, it results in a lot of self-censorship. In the meantime, I am setting up a speech device and working on voice banking. Voice banking is the process of recording yourself saying things so that you can incorporate it into electronic speech. It seems simple enough at first glance, but then you realize you are going to be stuck with this collection for the rest of your life! What will you desperately want to say in your own voice in 5 years? 10 years? Does a recorded "I love you" convey more genuine emotion than spontaneously synthesized speech or will it just be repetitious?

Setting up a speech device also makes you divide your life into categories of prewritten phrases. Some serve two functions: "Faith!" could be exclaimed as an answer to a sunday school question or to alert my sister of something. Most things, however, are situation specific. How much work you put in ahead of time to each one is a very serious priority decision. Talkers are impatient and will often change the topic before you are able to type an in depth response. What should you be prepared to say well?

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